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Painting in Oil 



A MANUAL FOR THE USE OF STUDENTS 



BY 

M. LOUISE Mclaughlin 



SECOND THOUSAND. 



CINCINNATI: 

ROBERT CLARKE & CO. 
1888. 



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PREFACE. 



AINTING in oil offers a means of 
artistic expression more nearly per- 
fect than that afforded by any other 
method. Whatever may be the 
j^ especial charms of other mediums, 
this must ever remain the one which 
gives the freest range to the capacity of 
the artist, and the most direct and com- 
plete facility in the representation of nature. 
The subject is, therefore, one of great im- 
portance from an artistic point of view, and 
one into the consideration of which I might 
hesitate to enter did I not venture to believe that some of 
the facts in regard to its technical aspects which will be 
found in the following pages, may be of use to others. 



Park Avenue, Walnut Hills, 
Cincinnati, Nov. 1887. 



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TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



INTRODUCTION. 
CHAPTER I. 
CHAPTER II. 
CHAPTER III. 



CHAPTER IV. 
CHAPTER V. 
CHAPTER VI. 
CHAPTER VII. 

CHAPTER VIII. 
APPENDIX. 



Technique. 

Harmony of Color. 

Color in its Relation to Light and 

Shade. 
Colors. 

Colors Continued. 
Materials. 
On Certain Changes Caused by the 

Mixture of Pigments. 
Palettes. 



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INTRODUCTION. 




^ ITHIN the last few years a great 
change has taken place in the 
methods of painting, one 
might almost say that this 
has occurred within the last 
^^^ decade, as it is scarcely more 

than ten years since the school of the 
Impressionists, so important a factor in 
the result, forced itself into public rec- 
ognition. It is certainly within this time that we 
y have been able to observe in our own country 
the growth of new ideas, destined to revolutionize the art 
of painting. Much has already been accomplished by the 
new school which has arisen, and in it there is much hope 
for the future. While some of its votaries have carried the 
expression of their ideas to the verge of sensational extrav- 
agance, others adding a noble technique to correct drawing, 



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VI INTRODUCTION. 



have produced works which will lift the pictorial art to a 
higher plane than it has ever occupied before. 

The leaven of good instruction is seen to be at work in 
the schools. To the students whose art education has ex- 
tended over the period in which the new methods have been 
introduced, the change has been very perceptible, and has 
brought to these unfortunates great discomfiture. After 
having perhaps, been carefully trained by conscientious ad- 
herents of the old school, it was with dismay that they 
were confronted with the task of unlearning all that they 
had toiled to acquire through years of all but useless en- 
deavor. Happy are those who begin their study of art 
under the more favorable conditions now existing. 

The old system of instruction in drawing no longer pre- 
vails. The student is not now permitted to waste valuable 
time in copying from the flat ; and the scarcely less useless 
practice of drawing from the antique has, in the most en- 
lightened art schools, been degraded from its former high 
position in the course of training, while the more practical 
method of studying effects of light and shade from still life 
or from the living model, has taken its place in primary as 
well as in more advanced instruction. The pupil is taught 
to take a broader view of his subject, to see things in 



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INTRODUCTION. Vll 



masses of light and shade, to study the efifect as a whole, 
rather than lose himself in a maze of incoherent detail. 

In painting, the difference between the new school and 
the old, shows. itself in the choice of a subject, which is 
always something that can be studied from real life — for the 
new school prides itself upon its realism — but still more 
plainly in the handling of the materials with which the paint- 
ing is executed, the method or technique of the work. It is 
this view of the subject which is to be treated in the following 
pages — the materials to be used and the method of using 
them. 

Although we do not, here, intend to enter into the con- 
sideration of the intellectual or literary side of the subject, 
a word to the student in regard to the choice of a motive 
may not be out of place. The drawing of the human figure 
is exceedingly difficult, so difficult that the number of living 
artists who have compassed all its requirements is very 
small. Let the beginner, therefore, hesitate before he un-. 
dertakes what is beyond his powers. It is not the size nor 
the importance of the subject that makes the picture. It 
is better to paint a cabbage, and do it well, than to attempt 
a great historical painting and fail — the former is an artistic 
achievement, the latter unworthy the name of art. 



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Vlll INTRODUCTION. 



That the student has acquired a certain knowledge of draw- 
ing before attempting to paint, should be a foregone conclu- 
sion. Drawing the subject is always supremely difficult, and if 
in addition the mind of the student is burdened with the em- 
barrassing details of technique — the mere laying on of the 
color, not to mention considerations of harmony or truth to 
nature— the task, to one unskilled in the use of the pencil, 
cannot be less than impossible. Through the more simple 
medium of drawing in black and white, must the eye first 
be .taught to see and the hand to represent the object seen. 

The importance of beautiful and harmonious color and fine 
technique in a work of art. cannot be overestimated, but 
underlying these desirable qualities the trained hand of the 
skillful draughtsman must be evident or the work will be a 
failure from an artistic point of view. We sometimes see 
pictures in which the fine drawing compels admiration, 
although the technique may be feeble and the color fail to 
please, but no amount of skill in painting or beauty of color 
will hide defects of drawing. 

If the student therefore, has compassed these preliminary 
requirements — we are ready to consider the material side of 
the subject, the tools which he should use and the best 
method of handling them. 



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PAINTING IN OIL. 



CHAPTER I. 

TECHNIQUE 

ROM the artist's point of view, there 
. nothing connected with the art of paint- 
ing of such importance as the technique 
or manner of laying on the color. It 
is the constant reproach of the critic, 
that this is all the artist sees in a work of 
,art, — that the idea, the conception of the 
subject, in fact, the soul of the picture is 
1 nothing to him, — that he is interested simply in 
^ observing how the painter has mastered the tech- 
nical details of his work. 
There is perhaps too much truth in the charge, still it is 
difficult to overestimate the importance of this part of the 
subject. The idea intended to be conveyed by the picture 

may be most worthy of representation, the conception all 

(9) 




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10 PAINTING IN OIL. 



that could be desired, the drawing fine; yet if the technique, 
the brush-work, is feeble, the whole will have failed in its 
proper realization, and the work will have little artistic value. 

Even the choice of the colors which are to form the 
palette is of less consequence than a knowledge of the best 
way to use them, for the secret of clear and brilliant color- 
ing is not found in the resources of the color-box, but in 
the skill with which the pigments are laid upon the canvas. 
The artist who has mastered technique can paint with almost 
any thing. It has been said of a well-known painter, that 
from the palette of a brother artist laid aside after a day's 
work, with tints apparently hopelessly commingled, he could 
paint a figure exquisitely fresh and dainty in color. Cer- 
tainly, a proof of no mean skill, yet an illustration of the 
fact that in this as in other arts, it is not the excellence or 
variety of the material at command which counts, but the 
ability to use it to the best advantage. 

We often hear students ask what colors were used to 
produce certain effects, as if every thing depended upon the 
answer. The artist of whom the question is asked seldom 
knows how to answer it intelligently. He has ' * felt around, " 
perhaps, until he got it. It would be better, doubtless, if 
the painter were able to tell exactly what colors he used, 



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TECHNIQUE. 1 1 



and what means he employed to arrive at the effect in ques- 
tion ; yet to one who understands any thing of the infinite 
variations which can be produced by the mixing of colors, 
it is not surprising that he should be unable to do so, nor 
would the mere knowledge of the names of the particular 
colors made use of enable the scholar to imitate it. Lists of 
colors by which certain tints can be produced may afford 
valuable suggestions to the student capable of profiting by 
them, but it will no more render it possible for one who does 
not know how. to use them, to paint a picture, than would 
the possession of a dictionary enable him to write a book. 

This most important work, therefore, the acquisition of the 
skill which will enable him to use his tools to the greatest 
advantage, must be the aim of every artist, and the object 
to which his unremitting energies are directed. He must 
master his materials, not be mastered by them. This end 
is only to be attained by practice, and practice, moreover, 
guided by right principles. 

Some suggestions can be given which may aid the 
student desirous of attaining a good technique. Of these 
the most important is, that no stroke of the brush should 
be laid upon the canvas except with the intention of 
producing a certain desired effect. There must be no 



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12 PAINTING IN OIL. 



experimenting, no feeble dabbling or ** feeling around" 
to get the right color or tone. The trouble with many 
students is that they work without thinking. To paint is 
not an easy task. To represent nature pictorially, by means 
of the limited resources at the command of the artist, re- 
quires the best efforts of the human intelligence brought to 
bear upon it. A certain amount of manual dexterity is re- 
quired, but it must not be forgotten that the work is done 
in the brain, and that the excellence of the result will be in 
direct proportion to the amount of thought which has been 
bestowed upon it. The subject should be so carefully 
studied that there is a well-formed idea as to the manner 
of its representation in the mind of the artist, and then each 
touch should be deliberately planned and separately applied 
as a means to a definite end. 

This leads to a consideration of the more purely technical 
aspects of the subject. It is to be supposed that the student 
of painting has acquired some knowledge of the art of seeing 
things as they should be represented pictorially, as this study 
is a necessary preparation for the practice of art in all its 
branches, and not alone in the one we are now considering. 
It is in this branch of art, however, that it has its best exem- 
plification. By the art of seeing things as they should be 



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TECHNIQUE. 1 3 



represented pictorially, we mean tjie method of looking at 
natural objects, as masses of light and shade, or in painting 
as formed of patches of color which, when represented in 
their proper relations to each other and to the whole, give 
an effect of roundness and solidity. The method of the 
modern painters has been called *V^^ tache,'' referring to the 
manner in which the tints are laid on in touches or patches 
of color like the separate pieces of a mosaic. The gain in 
force and brilliancy by this method of working is immense. 
In the old method by which the tints were worked into each 
other by an insensible gradation and, perhaps, afterward 
united with the aid of a blending brush, the whole became 
an inane, painty smear, in which the shortcomings of the 
pigments as a means of representing the light and color of 
nature were painfully shown. If in the work of some of the 
modern impressionists, accuracy of drawing and truth of tone 
are sometimes apt to be sacrificed to the exigencies of the 
method, there is a great gain in vigor and brilliancy of 
effect. The best technique will be found in a happy mean 
between the two extremes. It should not call attention to 
itself by its feebleness, nor on the other hand by its evident 
striving for effect. 

In regard to the preparing of tints, it may be unnecessary 



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14 PAINTING IN OIL. 



to say that the practice of mixing the colors with the palette 
knife and thus setting a palette preparatory to beginning 
work with the brush, is obsolete. The colors are to be 
placed upon the palette and mixed only >yith the brush, 
and if when applied to the canvas they are yet so imper- 
fectly blended that the tint appears when closely examined 
to be made up of minute threads of various colors, the effect 
will be much more brilliant than if it were so mixed as to 
form one homogeneous tone. Specks of pure color placed 
side by side react upon each other in such a way as to pro- 
duce the effect of combination, yet appear much more brill- 
iant than if actually combined. 

The colors must be mixed as little as possible, and never 
overworked. There is an almost irresistible temptation for 
the beginner to go over the work in the attempt to improve 
it, but an indulgence in this habit will result disastrously on 
the brilliancy of the colors as well as upon the technique. 
If it will not come right, it would be better to scrape the 
paint off and begin again than to risk sullying the colors by 
overworking. The difficulty of representing nature with the 
facilities we have is great enough without wasting any of the 
force at our command. The only safe plan is to find out 
what you want to do before beginning, carefully to consider 



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TECHNIQUE. 1 5 



the model, studying the tone you wish to produce in its re- 
lation to the other tones of the picture, and after having 
experimented on your palette as to the combination of colors 
which will produce it, then and not until then attempt to 
lay it upon the canvas. 

Do not lay a second touch without going back to your 
palette to replenish your brush with the color necessary 
for the next tone. Remember also, that if you can repre- 
sent the subject with a few strokes, the result will be so 
much the better. 

Cultivate a broad style by using a brush as large as can 
be conveniently adapted to the size of the painting, and 
endeavor to attain a firm and decided touch. The direction 
of the strokes of the brush should follow the form of the 
object represented. In painting flesh, for instance, the 
strokes should follow the rounded form of the muscles, or in 
drapery they should pass across the folds instead of length- 
wise. This method of working adds vastly to the effect of 
roundness and solidity. 

In some cases, as in the more retiring parts of a picture, 
it is not always desirable that the brush marks should show. 
A smooth surface can be procured when desired by allow- 
ing the paint to dry thoroughly and then rubbinp^ it down 



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1 6 PAINTING IN OIL. 



with cuttle-fish bone. Water can be allowed to run over the 
canvas, which is held carefully so as to avoid scratching the 
surface to be rubbed with the sharp edge of the bone. 
The hard edges of the bone should be broken ofif before 
using it, leaving only the friable inner portion, which, if 
properly used, can do no injury to the painting. 

In cases when it is desirable to avoid brush marks for the 
sake of brilliancy of effect, as in the representation of a white 
object illuminated by the sun, the palette knife is a valuable 
implement. The strokes of the brush, even when not very 
obvious, still present a surface which catches the light in 
such a way as to lower the tone slightly, the projecting parts 
casting slight shadows. With the aid of the palette knife, 
however, a touch may be made so smooth that it will per- 
fectly reflect the light and produce an effect of as great 
brilliancy as it is possible to give with paint. 

The palette knife will indeed be found most valuable 
wherever it is possible to use it. With its use effects can 
be produced, which are unapproachable by any other means. 
In the representation of a clear sky, or one in which the 
clouds have no decided form — a hazy effect of cirrus clouds — 
in painting a road, or water, either smooth or ruffled by the 
wind, and in back grounds, the palette knife is most useful. 



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TECHNIQUE. I/ 



Methods like this, of using other implements besides the 
brush, need not be considered as tricks. Any practice or 
method which tends toward a better representation of nature 
by means of pigments is legitimate, from an artistic point 
of view. It is only when this liberty is transcended, where 
a painter seeks to add to the effectiveness of parts of his 
picture by modelling them so as to give an actual relief, or 
when foreign materials are introduced, where the old paint- 
ers used gems, or as in the case of a certain modern artist 
who employed metal as an adjunct; that the painter over- 
leaps the bounds of realism and trespasses upon the do- 
main of the decorative artist. 

Although the use of the palette knife may have been 
abused by some, and it can readily be seen that it is not an 
implement that admits of universal application, yet, wher- 
ever practicable, it affords the most simple and direct means 
of attaining the effect desired. And in painting it may most 
certainly be affirmed, that, as a rule, the result is good in 
exact proportion to the simplicity of the means by which it 
was attained. 

The question as to the impasto, or thickness of the body 
of color used upon the canvas, is sometimes a matter of 
eThbarrassment to the student. There seems to be, among 



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1 8 PAINTING IN OIL. 



persons uneducated in art matters, a deeply rooted objection 
to painting which shows the marks of the artist's handling 
in roughened inequalities upon its surface, and the story of 
the committee who chose pictures for an exhibition by clos- 
ing their eyes and passing their fingers over the surfaces to 
find which were the smoothest, is, unfortunately, not so im- 
probable as to be regarded altogether in the light of a mere 
humorous invention. 

Now this question of a thick or thin impasto is one which 
has in itself no direct relation to the excellence of a work 
of art, and one which in the case of the artist must receive 
its solution according to the exigencies of the work in hand. 
He sets himself the task of reproducing a certain effect ; if 
in some places the paint is laid on so heavily that it stands 
out in relief and in others so thinly that the canvas shows 
through, it is no matter so long as the effect is what he 
desired to produce. 

In the light of new ideas it seems hardly necessary to 
mention certain methods formerly in vogue, but as there are 
still teachers who practice, and students who are hampered 
by them, it may be well to refer to them. Perhaps the 
student may have been puzzled by the terms **body color*' 
and **dead coloring" as employed by teachers and writers 



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TECHNIQUE. I9 



of the old school. Under such instruction he was recom- 
mended to paint the subject in monochrome, then lay in the 
**dead coloring," and finally in the after-painting finish what 
would by that time, in all probability, be a mass of paint 
with which it would be impossible to do anything. If you 
are going to paint anything from nature,'^ the effects you 
desire to produce will be of such an evanescent character 
that they must be caught at once, and painted as they 
appear, without going through the process of making an out- 
line, a sketch of light and shade, laying in **dead color,'* 
&c. Your aim should be, to observe correctly the charac- 
teristics of the subject, the color and tone in relation to its 
surroundings, and to represent it, with the aid of the pig- 
ments, as simply and directly as possible, laying each tint in 
its place and leaving it. If you should be so fortunate as to 
get it right or so nearly so as to satisfy yourself the first time, 
so much the better. 

Use the pigments thickly enough to give the necessary 
appearance of roundness and solidity. The canvas upon 
which your picture is painted is not to be considered as the 
side of a house upon which so many coats of paint are to be 
laid, but simply as a base or surface upon which you are to 
bring out your picture. The materials of which yoqr paint- 



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20 PAINTING IN OIL. 



ing is composed are to be kept, as far as possible, from 
being obtrusive. The paint does not make the picture, it is 
simply the medium by which your ideas are expressed, and 
a safe rule to follow would be to use no more of it than you 
know what to do with. In the proper place and used with 
intention you can hardly lay it on too thickly, but a mass of 
paint laid on without any meaning becomes- only so much 
matter in the wrong place. 

In the finest technique the impasto is thick, the tones clear 
and the whole effect strong and realistic, but the material by 
which this effect was produced is kept in such subservience 
to the iatention of the whole that it may be difficult at first 
to discover the means by which the result was attained, for 
here, as elsewhere, the highest art consists in the conceal- 
ment of art. 







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CHAPTER 11. 



HARMONY OF COLOR. 

HE power of producing harmonious 
color in art seems to be largely due 
to a natural gift. The colorist, 
as the poet, is born, not made. 
Yet, while we are forced to believe 
this, we can not doubt that, to a 
certain degree, the color-sense can 
be cultivated. The present state of 
our knowledge, however, hardly affords 
us the means of estimating the degree 
to which the cultivation of this faculty 
could be carried. 
Children very early display an appreciation of color. 
What might be accomplished were any systematic efforts 
made to educate this taste we do not know, for the child, 
instead of being surrounded by examples of the harmonious 
arrangement of color, and made the subject of careful instrix- 

(21) 




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22 PAINTING IN OIL. 



tion in its mysteries, is usually brought into contact with 
colors and combinations the reverse of instructive, and made 
the victim of the crude ideas so generally prevalent upon 
the subject. When we consider the influence of the more 
iiit-imate surroundings, there is little cause to wonder that 
the object lessons of nature lose much of their force, and 
that the child grows up lacking in greater or less degree the 
power of seeing color. 

As there are innumerable physical variations in the organs 
of sight as well as differences in the perceptive faculties, so 
there are all degrees in the manifestation of the sense of 
color, from the condition known as color-blindness to the 
power of recognizing the subtlest harmonies of tint. One 
who possesses the faculty of perceiving color harmonies, and 
consequently suffers annoyance when these harmonies are 
disregarded, has only to look around him to become pain- 
fully aware of the rarity of any proper conception of beauty 
or fitness in the use of color. That much might be done by 
education to improve the general taste in this respect scarcely 
admits of a doubt. It is true, education can never carry the 
individual beyond the limits of his own peculiar organism, 
and it can not render the eye physically incapable of distin- 
guishing color, or the brain blind to such perception, re- 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 23 

sponsive to its harmonies, yet it is certain that with people 
in general the color-sense might be brought to a much higher 
degree of development than it has reached. The fact that 
the defect of vision known as color-blindness is comparatively 
rare among women would seem to indicate that the educa- 
tion which they receive from the associations and occupa 
tions which lead them to pay more attention to color, and 
constantly to practice its combinations for decorative effect, 
has an influence even over natural tendencies. It at any 
rate goes to show that the faculty of color perception is sub- 
ject to the same rules which govern other faculties, and is 
strengthened and perfected by exercise. 

A theory was advanced not long ago by Dr. Magnus, in 
which it was suggested that the perception of color in the 
human race had been developed during the last four or five 
thousand years. The theory was supported by Mr. Glad- 
stone and others, who believed that they had discovered 
corroborative evidence in ancient writings. The lack of 
definiteness in the phraseology descriptive of color was 
taken as an indication of the failure to perceive the less ob- 
vious differences of hue. This may, however, have re- 
sulted from deficiencies in the languages rather than from 
any want of color perception, and as has been pointed 



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24 PAINTING IN OIL. 



out,* similar peculiarities might be noticed in the writings 
of the present day. In modern poetry references to red 
and yellow, and terms descriptive of such color sensations 
are much more frequent than those relating to the less strik- 
ing colors. There is still sufficient vagueness in the terms 
used to express color sensation, both in writing and speak- 
ing, to cause us to hesitate before accepting a theory on 
such grounds. Moreover, nations of a low degree of devel- 
opment at the present day do not exhibit any deficiency in 
the faculty of distinguishing color, and an apparent sense of 
color has even been observed in the lower orders of animals. 

The analogies of evolution suggest the probability that 
the perception of color as it now exists in the human race 
is the result of a gradual development extending over a very 
long period of time, but there is no sufficient evidence to 
prove that there has been any change in the color-sense 
within historic times ; yet, while we are not able to see more 
colors than the ancients, it is probable that there has been 
an improvement in the perception of color harmonies. 

The phenomena of sound can not be reconciled in all par- 
ticulars with those connected with vision, and therefore the 
analogies drawn between them, so frequently attempted, are 

* Grant Allen in *' The Development of the Colour-Sense.'* 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 2$ 

likely to be misleading, but the fact that there; has been a 
development in the perception of musical harmonies would 
suggest the possibility of a similar advance in color percep- 
tion, although it is by no means so apparent or so widely 
extended as it should be. 

It may be urged in opposition to the idea that there has 
been an improvement in the perception of color harmonies 
that much of the old decorative work is superior to that of 
modern times, also, that in the work of savages, what appears 
to be a very fine sense of harmony of color is frequently ex- 
hibited. This apparent superiority may, however, in the old 
work be merely the result of the softening influences of time, 
while in the case of the savages, it may be due not so much to 
a perception of color harmonies as to the paucity of materials 
and the imperfections of the rudely manufactured colors which 
these people are obliged to use, for it may be noticed that 
when savages are furnished with the hideously crude and brill- 
iant dyes of civilization, they use them with such an utter 
disregard of harmony that their work becomes artistically 
valueless. When limited to a few simple dyes, dull, because 
imperfectly prepared, and harmonious because derived di- 
rectly from nature, their work is pleasing to the most culti- 
vated eye. But give them the gorgeous tints that the 



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26 PAINTING IN OIL. 



modern chemist has evoked, like evil genii, from the un- 
promising coal-tar, and they will make as many mistakes in 
the combination of color as the most Philistine of our own 
carpet designers. The lamentable effects upon the work of 
the American Indians, upon the products of the Persian rug 
makers, even upon the art of the very clever and highly 
civilized Japanese and, indeed, on that of all people upon 
whom the corrupting influences of European civilization in 
the matter of modern dyes and pigments have been brought 
to bear, are too well known to be ignored. What a com- 
mentary upon our present state of advancement in this direc- 
tion, when it is evident that we can not even instruct savages 
in the use of color, and also that our boasted civilization has 
injured the art of nations which we consider below us in the 
scale of development. 

That there has been an advance in these matters, how- 
ever, can be seen when we read descriptions of costumes 
worn even as late as the seventeenth century, and in the 
magnificent court of Louis XIV., where even the lavish use 
of gold and silver and the richness of the materials could 
hardly have made the combination of blue, crimson, purple, 
and green in one costume, tolerable to even ordinarily culti- 
vated eyes of the present day. Specimens of the stuffs used 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 2J 

in those days which have come down to us, frequently ex- 
hibit such crude colors that even the lapse of time has failed 
to render them agreeable. The introduction of the brilliant 
aniline dyes some years ago retarded the progress of im- 
provement in the use of color, and it is only within the last 
few years that a marked change for the better has been ob- 
served. This improvement is seen in the manufacture of 
all kinds of material for decorative purposes, that can now 
be procured of very beautiful colors, in great contrast to the 
crude tints exhibited not long ago. Let us hope that these 
effects are something more than the ebb and flow of the 
tide of fashion, and may result in a permanent advance. 
Much has already been done toward educating the color 
perceptions of the people, but much yet remains to be ac- 
complished, and there is still abundant room for improve- 
ment in decorative art as well as in the art we are now con- 
sidering. 

The difficulty is not the lack of pigments with which to 
produce beautiful color. On the contrary, we suffer rather 
from an embarassment of riches in this respect, and, like the 
savages, are overwhelmed by our too extensive palette. 
We do not want more colors or brighter tints, but we need 
to know how to use those we have to the best advantage, 



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28 PAINTING IN OIL. 



and to practice in our limited field something of the reserve 
and economy of nature. The more brilliant colors are sel- 
dom seen in Nature, and then only in small quantities ;"*fehe 
husbands her resources of color only to introduce them with 
the most telling effect. The outside world is a harmony of 
blues, greens, browns, and grays, only occasionally showing 
the brighter colors in the gorgeous tints of the sunset or 
the dashes of brilliant color in flowers, or the bright plumage 
of birds. 

Although we are obliged to use colors infinitely less 
luminous than those of nature, the tendency in painting is 
rather to err on the side of too great brilliancy — a too lav- 
ish use of color. While endeavoring to imitate the clear 
brightness of nature's tones, the painter too frequently 
makes use of pigments which, instead of producing the de- 
sired effect, give an appearance of harshness and crudity. 
Bright colors should be considered as precious jewels, used 
only to accentuate some part of the composition, so care- 
fully disposed as to their setting and so sparingly displayed, 
that their natural brilliancy is enhanced, while they do not 
interfere with the harmony of the whole. 

Study of nature's methods will show that it is not in brill- 
iant or striking effects that the most pleasing results are to 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 29 

be found, but in tender and low-toned harmonies where the 
transition from one color to another is so artfully arranged 
as to be scarcely perceptible to the uninitiated eye. If 
sometimes the artist desires to produce a strong impression, 
a tour de force y it must be remembered that he undertakes a 
task from which only genius can issue triumphantly, and 
that the part of prudence is to avoid the difficulties of com- 
bining many or widely differing hues. 

The production of harmonious combinations of color in 
art is after all so much a matter of feeling that it is difficult to 
give any instruction in the matter. It does not seem pos- 
sible ever to govern the use of color by rules ; yet, while 
no amount of theoretical knowledge can make a colorist, the 
artist should use every means of adding to his knowledge 
of this most important subject. The science of color is as 
yet but imperfectly understood, but much has been done in 
this direction in recent years, and some interesting discov- 
eries have been made in regard to its nature. As we may 
gain some valuable suggestions from these researches, it may 
not be out of place to refer to them here. In order, how- 
ever, that what follows in regard to color may be under- 
stood, it may be necessary to state the theory of light as 



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30 PAINTING IN OIL. 



now held by the scientific world, as the phenomena of light 
and color are most intimately associated. 

All bodies not themselves luminous become visible by 
light thrown upon them from some luminous body and re- 
flected from their surfaces. In the ordinary light of day, 
objects are seen illuminated by the rays of the sun. Ac- 
cording to the theory now held, these rays are communi- 
cated by a wave-like motion through the mysterious medium, 
or ether, which fills all space. This motion is one of incon- 
ceivable velocity, and it is to this extreme velocity of the 
light waves that we owe our power of seeing color. The 
mean wave length of the rays has been estimated as only 
one fifty-thousandth part of an inch. The rays which, when 
interrupted or completely reflected from the surface of any 
object, produce upon our eyes the sensation of light, do not 
all exhibit a similar vibration. On the contrary, the motion 
of the different rays varies to such a degree as to be appar- 
ent to our sense of vision. This compound character of 
light can be demonstrated by allowing a beam of sunlight 
to pass through a prism which decomposes it, and allows us 
to observe the sensations produced upon our eyes by the 
different wave motions of its component parts. 

We have then, from the decomposition of light, what is 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 3 1 

called the solar spectrum, the series of colors which are 
seen in the rainbow (a spectrum produced by natural 
causes), beginning with red and ranging through the vari- 
ous hues of orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Ob- 
jects vary in their manner of receiving and reflecting light, 
and according to their peculiar qualities they absorb or 
destroy certain rays which come in contact with their sur- 
faces, and throw off others. The color of an object de- 
pends upon the character of the rays which are reflected 
or thrown off from its surface. Thus, when all the rays 
are reflected, the result is that absence of color which we 
call white, or undecomposed light. In other cases rays of 
various wave lengths are reflected, giving us the sensation 
of seeing objects of different colors. For instance, any 
thing which appears green has the quality of absorbing 
all the rays except the green ones, which are reflected 
from its surface in such a way as to render it visible as 
as a green object. If all the rays are absorbed, we are aware 
of a lack of color and luminosity which we call black. The 
cause of these effects is, therefore, this mechanical motion 
of light which, when translated by the sensations produced 
upon our eyes, becomes to us color. In what manner 



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32 PAINTING IN OIL. 



these sensations are produced upon the eye, is as yet not 
fully understood. 

According to the theory formerly held, there were three 
primary colors, from the combination of which all others 
were produced. These colors were redy yellow^ and bluCy 
and were said to be represented most nearly by the pig- 
ments Rose Madder, Aureolin, and Cobalt. This theory 
was founded upon the results obtained from the mixture 
of pigments and from combinations of transmitted colored 
light. While true in regard to pigments, and therefore of 
practical value to artists, more recent experiments have 
demonstrated that in the case of colors apart from pigments, 
the theory is entirely false. The theory of Dr. Young in 
regard to primary colors, advanced early in the present 
century, but more recently developed through the labors 
of Helmholtz and Clerk Maxwell, is the one now gener- 
ally received. 

According to the present theories, we are only cognizant 
of color through the sensations produced upon our eyes. 
There is no color, then, apart from us and our perceptions, 
and it can not be said that, in an objective sense, there 
exist three primary colors. The deiponstrators of the new 
theory have proved by experiment, however, that the hu- 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 33 

man eye is subject to certain primary or fundamental color 
sensations. In this sense, therefore, certain colors may be 
considered primary. Prof. Clerk Maxwell called red^ green, 
and blue the three primary colors, and considered the pig- 
ments Scarlet- Vermilion, Emerald-Green and Brilliant-Arti- 
ficial-Ultramarine to represent them most nearly. 

A still more recent theory was that proposed by Hering, 
who believed the sensation of color to be produced not, as, 
the others held, by stimulation of different sets of nerves, 
but by the action of light upon certain visual substances in 
the retina. These substances are acted upon in an opposite 
manner by each- of the following kinds of light, viz. : 

Black and White, 

Red and Green, 

Blue and Yellow. 
These would therefore be the contrasting or complement- 
ary colors, and form the fundamental color sensations. 
Foundation for this theory of sensation produced, upon a 
visual substance, is given by the discovery of a purplish-red 
substance in the retina, which quickly changes and disappears 
when it is removed from the eye and exposed to the light. 
Boll and Kiihne have studied the effects of colored light 
upon this substance,, and have constructed a theory of vis- 



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34 PAINTING IN OIL. 



ion from the results of their experiments. It is to the 
effect that the action of light upon the retina, produces 
certain compounds, varying according to its differing vibra- 
tions, and so gives rise to the sensations of color. The 
fact that there is a constant renewal of the part of the 
eye in which these visual substances are supposed to be 
located, seems to favor this theory. The retina, with its 
visual substances, might be compared to the sensitive plate 
in the camera, which receives impressions from the chem- 
ical action of light. But the processes by which light acts 
upon the eye have not as yet been fully explained, and the 
whole matter is in an indeterminate state. We only know 
what most immediately concerns us — that light gives us, 
according to the varying vibrations of its rays, certain sen- 
sations which we recognize as color. 

The red rays have the slowest vibration, and produce the 
most vivid sensation upon our eyes. The orange, yellow, 
green, blue, and violet rays have an increasing velocity of 
motion to the point where- our vision fails to take cogni- 
zance of further variation. Beyond the violet rays, we are 
as yet unable to recognize the action of light except by its 
chemical properties; and, on the other hand, we can not 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 35 

perceive any thing beyond the red rays except by the sen- 
sation of heat. 

It is, then, to this division of light into its component 
parts according to the nature of the object from whose sur- 
face it is reflected that we owe all the varied hues about 
us. As a matter of fact, no natural object reflects rays of 
one kind only, as the rays which are chiefly reflected, and 
therefore give the dominating color, are so mingled with 
others as to modify the effect and prevent the color from 
being pure. It is this quality which affects the mixture of 
pigments, and which, as has since been proved, rendered 
the former experiments in regard to the establishment of 
the theory of primary colors, of no value. For instance, 
the fact that green could be produced by a mixture of blue 
and yellow, was considered one of the strongest proofs of 
the old theory, and was supposed to militate against the 
statement that green was a primary or fundamental color. 
Admitting the fact that the mixture of blue and yellow pig- 
ments will produce green, it by no means follows that the 
combination of 'blue and yellow colors will produce green. 
The result in the mixture of pigments can t>e accounted for 
by the fact mentioned above, that no natural color is pure, 
but reflects, along with the rays which give it its general 



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36 PAINTING IN OIL. 



hue, other rays which have a wave motion of nearly the 
same length. Thus a blue pigment, while giving the gen- 
eral effect of this color, will have mixed with it some rays 
of colors contiguous to it in the spectrum — green on the 
one side, and violet on the other. A yellow pigment, on 
the other hand, will transmit with its principal color rays 
of the orange, which resembles it, on one side, and the 
green nearest in wave length on the other. Thus the one 
color transmitted in common by both, in combination with 
their own proper colors, is green, and this color is there- 
fore the result of a union of the two pigments. The pro- 
duction of the color green is therefore due to the impurity 
of the pigments. It is, perhaps, fortunate for the practical 
purposes of the artist that the pigments are not pure in 
color. 

There is also in the mixture of two pigments a loss of 
luminosity, because the resulting color is not the sum of 
the reflective action of both, but consists only of the rays 
that both are able to transmit after having absorbed all the 
others. If both pigments were pure, the result of the mixt- 
ure would resemble that which comes from the mingling of 
two complementary colors^ or white. The recent experi- 
ments have been made, not with pigments or transmitted 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 37 

colored light, from which the colors would in either case 
be more or less impure, but with the pure colors of the 
spectrum, which sho\v entirely different results. 

The experiments with the spectrum are somewhat com- 
plicated, but there is another method by which any one 
can test the truth of the new theory in regard to the mix- 
ing of colors. The method is as old as the time of Ptolemy, 
but it was perfected by the late Clerk Maxwell. Disks col- 
ored in the proper proportions with the two colors which 
are to be combined are caused to rotate rapidly. The ra- 
pidity of the revolution presents the two colors in such 
quick succession as to give the impression of the two com- 
bined or superimposed upon the retina. This gives the 
true mixture of the colored light reflected from both pig- 
ments, and, therefore, the combination of the colors. In 
the case of yellow and blue, the result is not green, but as 
nearly white as the purity and luminosity of the pigments 
will permit — usually a light gray, which is the same as 
white seen under a low degree of illumination. There are 
many interesting experiments which can thus be made in 
the mixing of colors, and, while it is unnecessary for the artist 
to enter into the subject in the manner of the scientist, 
much practical benefit may be derived from these studies. 



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38 PAINTING IN OIL. 



In the previous chapter, reference was made to the fact 
that colors appear much more brilliant when only partially 
mixed, or when laid on by the brush or palette knife in such 
a way that the tint, when closely examined, appears to be 
composed of mingled threads of color. The scientific ex- 
planation of this effect has been suggested in the reason 
which has been given for the loss of luminosity when 
xpigments are mixed. When the different colors are laid 
side by side in minute lines or points, the effect which 
reaches the eye of the observer at the proper distance is 
that of the commingling of the colored light reflected from 
the pigments, without the loss of luminosity, which would 
have resulted had they been actually combined. While by 
this method the most brilliant effects can be produced, there 
is in it, also, an analogy to Nature's way of producing color 
combinations, as she constantly presents us with arrange- 
ments, which, upon close examination, are found to be 
made up of minute patches of various hues. 

Even in the case of single objects, or surfaces, there is no 
equaHty of tint in nature. The artist should remember that, 
scientifically speaking, there is no such thing as ** local 
color." What seems to be the general hue of the objects 
about him, is only the play of light upon their surfaces, 



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HARMONY OF COLOIl. 39 



infinitely varied at every turn. In painting them, no color 
should be laid on as "local color," but every touch must 
go to make up a mosaic, each part of which differs fi-om 
the rest, but which, whea viewed at the proper distance, 
will produce an effect which the observer may not he able 
to analyze, but which will give an impression of harmony 
of color and richness of tone which can be produced in no 
other way. 

This method of working, where each separate touch is con- 
sidered and applied in its proper relation to the whole, (already 
described in the chapter on Technique,) is of equal value in the 
matter of color. It is in this way that the tones of nature are 
produced, and in this way only can we seek to imitate them. 
The ordinary observer may note and admire these effects of 
color, and may be conscious of a lack of harmony, where, in 
a work of art, the means of producing them have been neg- 
lected, but it is the task of the artist to analyze the tones, 
and as the skilled musician distinguishes the different notes 
in a strain of music, or the quality of the various instru- 
ments in an orchestra, so the artist, while appreciating the 
beauties of nature to the fullest extent, must essay the 
difficult task of discovering how these effects are produced. 
He must not be too much influenced by what he knows to 



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40 PAINTING IN OIL. 



be the color of the object he is painting, for, as has been 
suggested, the color is, after all, only the effect translated 
by his eyes as the result of the combined influences of light, 
sliade and reflection at work upon it. He must not be 
afraid, therefore, to represent things as he sees them, but 
even to see them properly, he must abandon any pre-con- 
ceived notions, as to how they should appear. The artist, 
as the scientist, must go to Nature in childlike simplicity of 
purpose and be ready to modify his ideas of things as she 
dictates. He must, however, exercise his judgment to de- 
termine what is best suited for representation. As it is not 
everything in nature which is either desirable or proper for 
his use, so it is not every combination of color which will 
look well in a picture, and he must cultivate a habit of close 
observation, which will enable him to see beauties unre- 
vealed to other eyes, and yet, among the subjects so lav- 
ishly displayed around him, to choose only those which are 
most worthy of representation. 

While there must always be differences of opinion as to 
harmony of color, while the combination which to one 
appears perfect, may to the differently constituted visual 
organs of another, be less pleasing, yet we cannot but think 
some guide in the mazes of this much disputed question 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 4 1 



may be found, which will lead the student to a better under- 
standing of its mysteries. There is, of course, as in all 
other matters of taste, an appeal to the usage of those who 
are by common consent acknowledged to be the best 
authorities. The study of the works of those masters to 
whom critics have awarded the palm as colorists, cannot fail 
to be most instructive to the student, yet he must in this, 
as in all other branches of his art, cultivate the habit of 
thinking for himself, and must strive to discover the secret 
which underlies all 

The difficulties of harmonizing color, great enough where 
the whole composition is low in tone, are vastly increased 
where brilliant and very dissimilar colors are introduced. 
Contrast has been considered necessary to harmony, and it 
has also been laid down as a law, that no combination of 
color could be perfect unless it embraced the three primary 
colors (as then denominated,) red, yellow and blue. Field ^ 
even went so far as to formulate a rule for the proportions 
in which these three elements should enter into a perfect 
composition. The absurdity of such rules, founded, as they 
were, on a false idea of the fundamental elements of color, 
can easily be shown, and while, as has been said, it seems 
impossible to reduce the formation of agreeable combina- 

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42 PAINTING IN OIL. 



tions of color to rule, there are certain general ideas upon 
the matter which the student would do well to remember. 
The complementary colors, those which form contrasts to 
each other as given by Prof. Rood,* are as follows: 

Red — Green Blue ; f 

Orange — Cyan Blue ; J 

Yellow — Ultramarine Blue; 

Greenish Yellow — Violet; 

Green — Purple, 
Now these colors, while mutually affecting each other to the 
best advantage, do not form the most agreeable combina- 
tions in art. The ccJors thus brought into juxtaposition 
have their individual beauty enhanced; but the idea that 
such contrast produced harmony, has had the most perni- 
cious influence upon art. It may be objected, that just such 
striking contrasts are seen in nature, and it can not be de- 
nied that in flowering plants these arrangements of color 
are frequently seen. The exquisitely beautiful textures of 
such natural objects, as well as the variety of tone intro- 
duced in the different parts, go far toward making the con- 



* Text- Book of Color, International Scientific Series. 

t Hemhohz gives blue green. 

X Cyan blue is the color which, in the spectrum, comes between blue green and blue. 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 43 

trasts agreeable, which, when copied in the coarser material 
of paint, produce a very different effect. This intense brill- 
iancy, however, as has been so elaborately presented in the 
works of Mr. Darwin and others, may be but the provision 
of nature which renders the plant depending for its fertili- 
zation upon insects, the more attractive to the color sense 
which these creatures seem to possess, and so furthers the 
ends of its being. Nature, perhaps, uses these means in a 
utilitarian way, and we need not consider them examples 
to be blindly followed in art. Some of the most brilliant 
colors and striking contrasts are, also, those which have 
been produced by the art of the gardener, and are, more- 
over, placed amid artificial surroundings, where the effect 
is quite different from what it would have been in the orig- 
inal condition of the plants. 

The most pleasing arrangements of color come, not from 
contrasts, but from similarity of hue. The adherents of the 
theory of harmony by contrast give a scientific explanation 
of the pleasurable sensation they believe to be derived from 
such arrangements, viz: that the nerves susceptible to the 
different color sensations, are in such cases equally stimu- 
lated. But without entering into the physiological, and 
keeping only to the artistic side of the question, we will 



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44 PAINTING IN OIL. 



find that the most agreeable effects of color are those ar- 
rangements where there is variety enough to avoid monot- 
ony, yet with an absence of abrupt transitions. In a sin- 
gle effect of color viewed as a whole, that which presents 
no striking contrasts will be found the most agreeable to 
the cultivated eye, while the less cultivated one, although it 
may be unable to analyze the sensation, cannot fail to apv 
preciate the pleasing effect. 

When anything approaching a contrast is introduced into 
a composition, the method of nature must be imitated. 
There must be a succession of intermediate tones leading 
up to it. Nature constantly practices these effects in the 
use of what has been called the '* small interval," the 
change from one color to another by almost insensible de- 
grees. It will generally be found that the best combina^ 
tions come from the use of colors near each other on the 
chromatic scale. Thus the warm colors harmonize best 
with each other, and the colder colors can be combined, 
but it is very difficult to produce a harmonious composition 
which introduces both the warm and the cold colors. Com- 
binations of the warm colors are generally more pleasing, 
as the impression of brilliancy and luminosity is agreeable, 
while an arrangement of cold colors produces a depressing 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 45 

sensation. If two colors far apart from each other in the 
chromatic scale are used together, they must be brought 
nearer each other in tone. Both must be made very dark 
or both correspondingly light, or they must be separated by 
some combination of the intervening colors, which will 
gradually lead up to the more brilliant one. .The combina- 
tion of red and blue, so frequently seen in decorative art, 
is one of very unlike colors, yet it can be made a beautiful 
one, if both colors are sufficiently degraded in hue. The 
combination of indigo blue and a dull brick red, into which 
yellow enters, is agreeably shown in some Persian rugs, yet 
the most pleasing effect of this combination is produced 
when gold is added, as in the beautiful Moorish decorations. 
We have, then, the colors, red and blue, far removed from 
each other in the spectrum, but separated in the design by 
the greenish yellow which should come between them. It 
is easier to produce agreeable combinations in decorative art 
where metallic colors can be introduced, but in pictures 
where no such relieving adjuncts can be used, the painter 
must be still more careful in his choice of colors. 

It is extremely difficult to produce a good effect where 
there is an excess of green, the central color of the spec- 
trum, in the composition. This is felt by artists in repre- 



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46 PAINTING IN OIL. 



senting landscape effects in midsummer, when the greens of 
the foliage are of such an intense character. This difficulty 
has been explained by the supposition that as this color pro- 
duces a. more lasting impression upon the eye than the 
others, therefore the nerves susceptible to it are sooner 
exhausted. The difficulty of managing a composition in- 
troducing this color in excess may, however, arise only from 
its essential coldness. Also, the fact that some of the pig- 
ments of this class, used by artists, as for instance .emerald 
green, are so bright as to be out of harmony with nature's 
tones, may have something to do with the disagreeable 
effect produced in many pictures. It is here that the beauty 
of nature's method becomes more apparent We constantly 
see such seemingly impossible combinations of color so 
arranged as to produce the most perfect harmony. The 
green of the trees is formed of a myriad tints, warm and 
cold, light and dark, so graduated and blended as to har- 
monize with the blue of the sky, which is not pure blue, 
but a tirt so varied by the changing effects of light and 
covered by clouds of different hues that the colors are not 
decidedly contrasted, but brought into harmony by an in- 
sensible gradation of tones. It is in the school of Nature 
that the artist will find his best instruction and his surest 



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HARMONY OF COLOR. 



47 



inspiration, and it is only by study of her effects, her broken 
tints, her avoidance of abrupt transitions, her careful use of 
material that he may penetrate a little deeper into her 
secrets while imitating her modes of treatment the more 
carefully because obliged to work within an infinitely 
narrower range. 







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CHAPTER III. 

COLOR IN ITS RELATION TO LIGHT 
AND SHADE. 

S we are here concerned only with 
painting, the consideration of light 
and shade apart from color, is beyond 
the limits of our subject. We have seen, 
however, that color is only decom- 
posed light, and, in painting as well 
as in nature, color and light are so 
closely united as hardly to be dissociated. 
There are certain aspects in which color 
can be considered as an auxiliary to the 
expression of light in painting, which 
may properly find place here. The 
N painter has need to understand the 
use of all such aids, as the task of repre- 
senting nature, in all her brilliancy of light and color with 
the aid of a few imperfect pigments, is appalling when one 

considers its magnitude. Compared to the dazzling effect of 

(48) 




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COLOR IN ITS RELATION TO LIGHT AND SHADE. 49 



a white object, illuminated by the rays of the sun, the whitest 
or white paint presents but a dull and sombre tint of grey, 
while on the other hand the densest black pigment would 
fall far short of representing the gloom of a dark night. It 
is, then, upon a very limited scale, that we must measure 
the luminous tones of nature, and in representing them so 
economize our material that the vast difference may not be 
too obvious. Working within the bounds of this narrow 
scale, there can be no absolute truth in the counterfeit pre- 
sentment, there must be exaggeration here, reduction there, 
yet while the whole is very much lower in tone, a great 
degree of luminosity, as well as much apparent truth to 
nature, can be produced by the artful management of the 
scheme of light and shade which forms the picture. 

The object of the painter is to produce the same impres- 
sion upon the eye of the spectator as would be produced 
by the natural objects in the same circumstances as those 
represented in the picture. Considering the vast difference 
between the scale of nature's tones and that to which 
the artist is limited, this result would seem an impossible 
achievement, yet there are certain conditions which favor 
the artist and render it possible for him to reproduce the 
effects desired with very fair success. He cannot, in the 



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50 PAINTING IN OIL. 



nature of things, produce a counterpart of the scheme of 
light and shade which would exist in the real objects which 
he wishes to represent, but it is within his power to pro- 
duce upon the eye of the observer an impression similar to 
that which would be produced by the natural scene. To 
do this he must exercise the most careful judgment in re- 
gard to his choice of subject, and also practice the greatest 
art in the arrangement of his tones. 

In regard to the impression which must be produced upon 
the eye of the observer, he is aided by certain physiological 
conditions of the eye. The comparative sensitiveness of 
the eye to degrees of light has been made the subject of 
experiment by Helmholtz, Fechner, and others. A law 
has been discovered by Fechner for the scale of sensitive- 
ness to light, which is to tne effect, that within certain 
wide limits, differences of light produce an equal sensation, 
if they form an equal part of the whole quantity of light 
compared. Differences in intensity of light which can be 
recognized under a high degree of illumination, can also be 
perceived in the same relative degree when the illumination 
is not so great. 

Hence, although the work of the painter is executed 
with pigments which reflect a comparatively small quantity 



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COLOR IN ITS RELATION TO LIGHT AND SHADE. 5 1 

of light, and, moreover, are to be viewed under a much 
feebler illumination than the natural scene, as must be the 
case even in the best lighted gallery, he can yet, by care- 
fully preserving the relative value of his lights and shadows, 
produce upon the eye of the observer the desired impression. 
This rule for the sensibility of the eye only holds good 
for a certain mean degree of light. For extremes of light 
or shade the eye loses its sensibility to a certain extent. 
When viewing anything under a very brilliant illumination 
it becomes dazzled by the unusual strain, and its sensibility 
is somewhat deadened, causing it to fail to respond to the 
finer differences of light in the more highly illuminated 
parts. On the other hand under a very feeble illumination 
it is insensible to faint differences in the deepest shadows. 
For this reason very bright objects appear to be equally 
bright, even when there exist decided variations in tone, 
and, on the contrary, when anything is viewed under very 
feeble light, the eye is incapable of appreciating a very 
slight increase of shadow. The artist, therefore, when at- 
tempting the representation of bright sunshine, can produce 
the effect which dazzles the eyes of the spectator upon 
viewing the natural scene so illuminated, by making the 
objects in the brightest light almost jequal in tone, and can 



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52 PAINTING IN OIL. 



also heighten the effect by exaggerating the depth of the 
shadows. When he desires to represent a scene under very 
feeble illumination, while he has no pigments, which will 
accurately represent the absence of light in the natural 
scene, he can simulate the effect which it would have on 
the eye of the observer, by making the relative values of 
the shadows more nearly equal, while he adds to the illusion 
by making the parts of the picture which are illuminated 
by the comparatively feeble light, brighter than they are in 
nature. 

The cases just mentioned, those in which a very high or a 
very low degree of illumination is depicted, represent the 
subjects of the greatest difficulty for the painter. The task 
of representation is not so great, however, when only a 
mean degree of illumination is to be expressed. In repre- 
senting such subjects the painter has a greater chance of 
success if he but preserve the ratio between his tones, to 
which we have referred. There need not be, here, so great 
a degree of exaggeration for effect, as in the case of the 
representation of great light or depths of gloom, but there 
is a delicate gradation of tone from light to dark that must 
be most carefully kept. These gradations are sometimes 
almost insensible, as for instance in painting flesh. Slight 



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COLOR IN ITS RELATION TO LIGHT AND SHADE. 53 

as it is, there is a gradation in light and color, which must 
be recognized in order to give the effect of light as well as 
form, yet sometimes it is so small as to be scarcely per- 
ceptible. This effect has been exaggerated by a modern 
French painter, who represents his figures in tints almost 
flat. The transition from light to shadow is gradual or 
abrupt, according to the illumination of the object or the 
texture of its surface. In the diffused light of a cloudy day 
or that of the interior of a room, there is a gradual succes- 
sion of tones leading f^'pm light to dark, while in the light 
of the sun on a cloudless day, or when the illumination is 
produced by .artificial light, there is a much more abrupt 
transition. 

The novice is likely to lose sight of the ratio of the inter- 
mediate tints and to be prodigal of his lights and shadows. 
This lavish use of light and shade does not produce brill- 
iancy, but, on the contrary, gives a harsh and unnatural ap- 
pearance. The happy mean between the two extremes must 
be sought, and the proper gradation of tones preserved. 
The tone of the highest light must first be determined, and 
every other part of ih*^ picture must be painted with refer- 
ence to it. All the delicate gradations from this, the key 
note of the whole, must be observed with the greatest care. 

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54 PAINTING IN OIL. 



In spite of the limited scale with which we have to work, 
the highest light, unless it is the representation of a white 
object in a strong light, is never white, and, on the contrary, 
the darkest shadow is never black. The pure white pigment 
must be reserved for the brilliant effects of strong light, and 
however dark the shadow may be, it is far removed from 
blackness. The art of the painter consists in the ability so 
to manage his lights and shadows that the subject may be 
modeled by insensible gradations of tone from opaque high 
lights to luminous transparent shadows. 

But to return to the particular branch of the subject 
which we started out with the intention of considering : the 
aid which color may give in the representation of light in 
painting. Certain colors, such as the reds and yellows with 
all tints related to them, are capable of producing an effect 
of warmth and luminosity. Yellow is especially useful for 
such a purpose, and it may be remarked that all natural 
tones seen under a high degree of illumination, incline to 
yellow. * All colors in strong light exhibit this tendency to 
take on a yellowish hue, while in shadow they tend more 
towards blue. The yellow light coming through a stained 
glass window of this color, will give the impression of sun- 
light outside on a cloudy day, even a streak of paint, or of 



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COLOR IN ITS RELATION TO LIGHT AND SHADE. $$ 

any light colored powder upon the pavement, will appear, 
at first sight, to be a ray of sunlight. This color is not only 
associated in our minds with the idea of light, but, as has 
been said, everything in strong light actually does produce 
the impression upon our eyes of tending toward a yellow 
hue. If, then, an effect of bright light is to be produced, 
this color is a valuable auxiliary. The highest tone of a 
white object in strong light may even be rendered more 
brilliant by giving it a very slight yellowish tint, while the 
increased yellow hue of all colors in the light must also be 
recognized. On the contrary, the lowering of the tone by 
making the color of the shadows bluer in tint, will do much 
toward giving the retiring effect desired. In strong sunlight 
the shadows cast on any surface of light color, such as a 
dusty highway, or a field of snow, h^ve a very decided tend- 
ency to blue. This effect in shadows must, however, be 
treated with the greatest care in order to avoid exaggeration. 
A high degree of luminosity is attended by a correspond- 
ing loss in hue, and colors seen in a very strong light ap- 
pear paler than in the shade; The artist must also take 
advantage of this fact, and in his attempt to produce the 
effect of brilliant illumination he must sacrifice something 
of his color to gain in the end a greater degree of lumin- 



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56 



PAINTING IN OIL. 



osity. We muat make use of our poor substitute for white 
light and combine our colors with the white pigment, which 
is to make them paler in tint, but, at the same time, to 
make them express the effect of light we need in our pic- 
ture. In this way must the art of the painter conceal the 
poverty of his resources. The comparison of the utmost 
that paint can do in the representation of light and color, 
with the purity and brilliancy of nature's tones, may be 
discouraging, but the artist's aim must not be the servile 
imitation of nature. That is rendered impossible by the 
limitations under which he works. His is a higher object : 
that of giving a transcription of nature which shall repre- 
sent some of her moods to others, as they appear to his 
eyes, and which, while presenting as much of truth as he 
can see or compass in the rendering, shall yet bear the im- 
press of his own mind and character, ' 




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CHAPTER VI. 




COLORS. 

^HE skill of the chemist has 
placed at the command of the 
artist of to-day, a palette, com- 
prising pigments of such vari- 
ety as to leave little to be de- 
sired. From the number offer- 
ed* however, the artist should choose 
with discretion, for many of these colors, 
and, moreover, some of the most brilliant 
I and beautiful, are destitute of that most im- 
portant quality, permanence. That the value of 
a pigment depends upon the degree of its permanence, is 
most obvious, yet many of those included in the lists of 
the colormen, and thoughtlessly purchased and used by 
artists, are totally lacking in this most important respect. 

The careless practice of using colors which are not per- 
manent, has no defensible ground, as it is possible to use 

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58 PAINTING IN OIL. 



for the representation of any subject which the artist may 
desire to paint, such colors only as are reasonably safe from 
change under the test of time, or any of the conditions to 
which the painting may be subjected. This being the case, 
there is no excuse for the artist who uses inferior colors, 
unless it be urged that it is a matter of economy. It is 
true that the finest colors, considered as pigments, and 
apart from the question of manufacture, are generally the 
most expensive, yet the question of economy is hardly ad- 
missible in the consideration of a work of art, and the 
quantity of the colors used is, ordinarily, so small as to 
make the matter of cost of very little moment, even were 
it worthy of being weighed in the balance against durability. 
In extenuation of the practice of many artists it may 
be said, and probably in most cases with truth, that they 
err through ignorance of the properties of the colors. 
Time, however, is no respecter of ignorance, and the pict- 
ures of the artist who does not inform himself as to the 
nature of the materials he uses, will fade and change just 
as certainly as those of him who avows his intention to use 
what colors he chooses, knowing that they are fugitive, 
careless of the future, as he paints only for the present. It 
is clearly the duty of the one to seek the knowledge which 



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COLOR. 59 

he lacks, while the other may have cause to regret his 
course when he is confronted by the wreck of one of his 
pictures, an event which may easily happen in his own 
lifetime. 

No artist can afford to risk his reputation on such flimsy 
grounds as are afforded by the excuses for the employment 
of many of the colors in common use. Sir Joshua Rey- 
nolds made this mistake knowingly, and now, after the 
lapse of a hundred years, his fame as a colorist rests upon 
little more than tradition. It does not always, however, re- 
quire a century to show the results of the use of fleeting 
colors. A few years, or even months, is generally all that 
is necessary to complete the ruin of the picture. A corre- 
spondent of the London News, writing, not long ago, of the 
pictures in the new rooms of the Louvre, from his observa- 
tion of the deteriorating processes going on in the modem 
pictures there, made the prediction that in less than fifty 
years half the pictures of the nineteenth centurj'^ will have 
disappeared. The correspondent referred the cause to the 
poor service chemical science has rendered to modern paint- 
ing. It seems hardly fair, however, to lay the blame on 
chemical science. If the chemists in their search for some- 
thing new have discovered some very bad pigments, the 



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60 PAINTING IN OIL. 



artict is not obliged to use them without regard to their 
qualities. If he does so, it is at his own risk. 

When the picture is sold, the matter becomes a question 
of honesty. The artist who sells a picture, knowing that it 
is painted with colors which will fade or otherwise change, 
is guilty of the same kind of dishonesty as that of the 
merchant who misrepresents the quality of his goods. If 
it be granted that it is both foolish and dishonest to neglect 
the proper consideration of this, to the painter, most im- 
portant subject, the materials of his craft, it is certainly the 
part of wisdom for him to learn something of the nature 
of these materials. The subject is one not unattended with 
difficulties. Colors which are entirely and undoubtedly 
permanent, are after all comparatively rare. The discovery 
of a new one is hailed with delight by chemists, we can 
not, alas, say by the artistic fraternity, as artists are too 
generally indifferent to the question of permanence, caring 
only for brilliant effects in the present and regardless of any 
changes time may bring. 

In the matter of durability, also, pigments range all the 
way from the undoubtedly permanent under all condi- 
tions, in a descending scale of various degrees, to those 
which are certainly known to be fugitive. Then, too, they 



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COLORS. 6 1 

are not only to be considered alone, but in combination 
with each other. Some colors, perfectly durable in them- 
selves, may be unfavorably affected by the chemical proper- 
ties of others with which they are combined, while others, 
fugitive in themselves, may be rendered more permanent by 
admixture with others which have a preservative effect upon 
them. In any case, it is hardly possible to pronounce an 
opinion which may not be disputed by the results of some 
peculiar circumstances. 

A color, also, which has proved fugitive in the work of 
one artist, may have been found to be durable in that of 
another. It is the experience of chemists that the same 
combinations, under apparently similar conditions, do not 
always produce like results. When we consider the condi- 
tions of the combination of colors, varied as it must be by 
the peculiarities of manufacture, and also by the handling 
of different artists, it is not surprising that the result cannot 
always be positively predicted. There is, perhaps, no color 
so permanent that it will not suffer injury from some abnor- 
mal condition, or none so fugitive that it will not, in some 
one*s experience, disprove its reputation. 

We cannot, however, consider the colors under such 
unusual conditions, but choosing those of a reputable man. 



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62 



PAINTING IN OIL. 



ufacturer, we must make use of such as by reason of their 
chemical properties may be suppossed to be reasonably free 
from change under such normal conditions as ordinary light, 
heat, or combination with each other. When an artist can 
choose between two colors producing similar effects in use, 
one of which is permanent and the other fugitive, only the 
grossest ignorance or a virtual dishonesty of intention is 
shown by the choice of the latter. In some cases the fugi- 
tive color possesses such beauty and brilliancy that no per- 
manent color has been found to take its place. This in- 
creases the temptation to make use of such colors, but the 
cases are fortunately not numerous, and it may be affirmed 
that it is quite possible to select a palette which shall em- 
brace all the colors necessary, and which shall, at the same 
time, be practically permanent. 




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CHAPTER V. 

Colors — Continued, 

,E will now consider the claims of 
the various pigments, with the pur- 
pose of forming a palette which 
shall meet all necessary require- 
ments in the way of variety and 
permanence. 

In oil painting, white may be said to be 
the mo3t important of all the pigments, as 
it enters into every tint in larger or 
smaller proportion, and upon it depends 
^^^ the luminous quality of the picture. The 
^ choice in oil colors is practically limited 
to the whites made from lead, and zinc white. The lead 
whites, cremnitz, silver and flake white, are the pigments 
most generally used. The first of these is the best. It 
has great body, and is the most brilliant white known, but 
in common with all whites made from lead, it has some 
serious defects. The most annoying is its tendency to turn 

yellow, if the picture in which it is used is placed where 

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64 PAINTING IN OIL. 



there is an absence of strong light. It has, also, a tendency 
to blacken in an atmosphere containing sulphuretted hydro 
gen. As it is usually exposed to the first of these condi- 
tions, and sometimes to the last, in the light and atmos- 
phere of an ordinary house, its use is scarcely to be. 
recommended. 

The chemical action of the lead is, moreover, injurious to 
some other colors, when it is used in combination with 
them. It is said, also, that white lead loses its body, be- 
coming, after a considerable lapse of time, partially trans- 
parent. This result is probably due to a process of oxida- 
tion, caused by the action of the atmosphere upon the sur- 
face ; by which it is continually eaten away. The difficulty 
concerning the chemical action of lead upon certain other 
colors might be avoided by leaving such pigments out of 
the palette, or by mixing them with another white, such as 
zinc white, when used. It would, however, be annoying, 
while painting, to be obliged to consider whether certain 
colors were inimical to each other and to avoid mixing 
them. 

There is still another objection to the use of lead white, 
which I am inclined to believe, has greater force than most 
persons imagine, and that is its poisonous quality. The 



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COLORS — contimu'd, 65 



injurious effects upon the workmen employed in handling it 
at the factories where it is manufactured, are well known. 
But even in the comparatively small quantities employed in 
artistic work, there is risk of injury which may be felt in 
proportion to the susceptibility of the persons by whom it 
is used. When using pigments of such poisonous nature it 
is best to protect the skin in handling them, as the poison 
can be absorbed by contact. The hands may be protected 
by wearing gloves, but when white lead is used in any 
considerable quantity, it gives forth a strong odor, which is 
not only disagreeable in itself, but deleterious to health. 

In consideration of the numerous drawbacks attending 
the use of white lead, we are justified in excluding all pig- 
ments made from lead from our palette. We turn, there- 
fore, to the only other available white, that made from 
zinc, and find in it all the qualifications necessary to replace 
the whites of lead. 

Zinc white, when properly prepared, is a brilliant white of 
sufficient body, and is entirely permanent. It is difficult to 
understand why this pigment, practically unalterable as it 
is, should not, in use, have replaced to a greater extent 
than it has done, the objectionable white lead. For more 
than a century its good qualities have been known to 



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66 PAINTING IN OIL. 



chemists. Among other favorable reports upon this pig- 
ment, was one made as long ago as the year 1808, to the 
Institute of France, in which its use was recommended as 
preferable to that of white lead, and in which it was stated 
that to the advantage of the absence of qualities injurious 
to health was added the fact that the tints produced with 
it were clearer and purer, while, if its brilliancy was not 
so great, it did not tarnish. It does not dry as quickly 
as white lead, for the reason that it does not, as the lead, 
form a chemical compound with the oil with which it is 
mixed. This does not cause any inconvenience in working. 
On the contrary, it is rather advantageous, and besides les- 
sens the risk of cracking. This pigment is not supposed 
to be entirely innocuous to health, but in artistic work its 
use may be practically so considered. Its comparative free- 
dom from injurious qualities, combined with its merit of re- 
maining unaffected by the action of light or impure air, ren- 
der zinc white, therefore, the best white pigment we have. 

We will next consider the reds. Although not compris- 
ing all that might be desired, the list of permanent reds is 
sufficient for our absolute needs. A brilliant transparent 
scarlet would be a very>desirable pigment, but, although the 
value of such a pigment is fully realized, and it has long 



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COLORS — continued, 6j 



been sought, even with the sthnulus of liberal rewards, no 
permanent red of that description has yet been found. We 
, are limited, therefore, to opaque scarlets, and among these 
there are no colors whose claims entitle them to considera- 
tion, except the various preparations of vermilion. Pure 
scarlet, the most brilliant and transparent red known, is so 
extremely fugitive as to be unworthy of mention. Red 
lead, although more durable, is still so liable to be affected 
by impure air and by admixture with other colors as to be 
undesirable. The choice must, therefore, fall upon one or 
other of the preparations of vermilion. 

Vermilion is a sulphide of mercury and, when pure, a 
brilliant and permanent color. It does not dry well, and is 
of such opacity as to be somewhat difficult to manage in 
mixtures. When not of fine quality it is said to turn 
brown in time, yet it may be considered as, practically, a 
permanent pigment which has stood severe tests. As such, 
and as, moreover, the only available red of so brilliant 
and durable a color, we are justified in adding it to our 
palette. 

Of the different preparations known under the names of 
vermilion, Chinese vermilion and orange vermilion, the first 
is probably the best choice. Chinese vermilion or carmine 



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68 PAINTING IN OIL. 



vermilion is slightly more brilliant in color, and orange 
vermilion is, as its name indicates, of an orange tint, and 
is more transparent than the others. The preparation known 
as Field's orange vermilion is very brilliant, and being, 
as has been said, more transparent than other vermilions, 
is, therefore, better in mixtures. When an orange red is 
desired, however, there is nothing better than cadmium 
red. 

Cadmium Red is a simple pigment containing no base but 
cadmium, and is of a brilliant orange scarlet color, partially 
transparent and absolutely permanent. 

Among reds of more sober hue, we have Indian, light, 
Mars and Venetian reds and red ochre. Indian red, light 
red and red ochre are natural pigments, and belong to the 
class of ochres, while Mars red and the Venetian red, now 
manufactured, are compounds of a similar nature, artificially 
prepared. All these colors are composed of oxides of 
iron, but in the artificial ochres, the iron is, chemically, 
more active in mixtures with other colors, and so more 
likely to be injurious to those colors which cannot be safely 
mixed with iron. We will select as the most useful among 
these reds the following: 



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COLORS — continued, 6g 



Indian red, a natural earth, rich in peroxide of iron ; of 
a fine, dull red color, and very permanent. 

We now have to consider the transparent rose colored 
pigments. These are mostly comprised under the heads of 
madder and cochineal lakes. The latter are known as 
scarlet lake, crimson lake, purple lakes, Roman lake, &c. , 
and are all derived from the cochineal insect. They are rich 
and brilliant colors, but are injured by strong light and 
by admixture with certain other pigments, particularly lead 
whites and vermilion. The madder lakes are obtained from 
the root of the Rubia tinctorum, and are known as madder 
carmine, rose madder, pink madder and madder lake. They 
are the only permanent lakes, and are, moreover, very beau- 
tiful colors. They are permanent under all conditions, 
except that they are somewhat liable to injury when mixed 
with lead or iron pigments. 

We will add rose madder to our palette, remembering, 
however, that it is subject to the conditions as to admixture, 
mentioned above. As to the danger of admixture with 
white lead, we have avoided that by selecting zinc white 
instead of one of the lead whites, and as to the other condi- 
tion of admixture with iron colors, we will render the liabil- 
ity as small as possible by leaving out the artificial ochres, 



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JO PAINTING IN OIL. 



which, as has already been mentioned, arc, chemically, more 
active than the natural pigments. The natural ochres or 
iron colors will, therefore, be less dangerous when mixed 
with rose madder, but we will be certain of security from 
changes if we avoid mixing any of the ochres with it. 

There are a few orange-colored pigments which merit 
attention. The principal ones are cadmium orange, burnt 
Sienna, chrome orange. Mars orange and burnt Roman 
ochre. The first of these is a fine, permanent color, but it 
will not be necessary to add it to our palette, as we have 
already cadmium red, and will add deep cadmium among 
the yellows as more useful than the one under consideration. 

Btimt Sienna is prepared by calcining raw Sienna, and is, 
therefore, of the same nature, i. e., a natural pigment con- 
taining iron. It is a fine transparent brown, inclining to 
orange, permanent, except with possibly a slight tendency 
to deepen in time. We will add it to our palette as the 
only one in' this class which we will find necessary. 

Chrome orange is made from a base of lead, and is, 
therefore, likely to discolor in an impure atmosphere, and, 
also, likely to injure other colors by admixture. It is said 
to be somewhat better than the chrome yellows, but, con- 
sidering the defects mentioned, quite out of the question in 



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COLORS — conthmed. 7 1 



a palette of permanent colors. Mars orange is open to the 
objections made before as to the artificial ochres, also bear- 
ing the name Mars, of being less safe than the natural 
ochres in mixtures with colors that can be injured by iron. 
Burnt Roman ochre is permanent, but unnecessary. 

We will now consider the merits of that important class 
of pigments, the yellows. In this we will find a larger 
assortment of permanent colors than in any other. Of 
practically permanent pigments we may choose from the 
following list: Aureolin, cadmium, lemon yellow, Orient 
yellow, raw Sienna, the ochres, Naples and Mars yellow. 

There are a number of yellow pigments which are not 
durable, the best known of which may be briefly mentioned :; 
Chrome yellow is, like the orange chrome, already noted, a 
chromate of lead and subject to all the defects of lead 
colors. In color it is so crude and disagreeable that one 
would hardly consider it necessary to warn artists against it, 
had it not in some unaccountable way come into general use. 
Its true characteristics have so frequently been exposed of 
late, that it is to be hoped it has lost some of its popularity. 
Likewise lacking in permanence, is citron yellow, which 
changes on exposure to light and air; Kings* yellow or 
orpiment. which, besides being unsafe in mixtures with other 



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^2 PAINTING IN OIL. 



colors, is extremely poisonous; yellow lake; Italian pink, 
(which is the curious name of a very brilliant, transparent 
yellow), and Indian yellow. All these colors are fugitive, 
and, therefore, to be avoided. 

Of the permanent pigments mentioned above, we will 
choose for our palette, aureolin, cadmium. Orient yellow, 
raw Sienna, and one or two of the ochres, leaving out Naples 
yellow, which, although said to be permanent as now manu- 
factured, is unnecessary, and, also. Mars yellow, because it is 
an artificial ochre, while we have a number of natural ochres 
from which to choose. 

Aureolifiy a compound of cobalt, pottassium and oxide of 
nitrogen, is a beautiful semi-transparent yellow, which is 
said to be the most permanent yellow known. It is useful 
in mixtures on account of its partial transparency, but is of 
no great power. Winsor and Newton's preparation is 
somewhat pasty, and the pigment seems to separate from 
the oil and become too dry. As it is a useful and beautiful 
color when properly prepared, and this experience may have 
been exceptional, we will add it to our palette. 

Deep cadmium is a sulphide of cadmium, a brilliant yellow, 
inclining to orange, a splendid color, and one which is en- 
tirely permanent. The deep cadmium is chosen from several 



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COLORS — continued, 71 

cadmium yellows, as it is the richest color, and, because, in 
the case of these pigments, the deeper the colors the greater 
is the degree of permanence they possess. The pale cad- 
miums are not considered as permanent as the deeper col- 
ored varieties, and a pigment called lemon cadmium or 
Mutrie yellow is said to be decidedly fugitive. 

Orient yellow is a comparatively new pigment of a brill- 
iant yellow hue, which is said to be absolutely permanent. 
It is so fine a color and one which will be found so useful 
that we cannot omit it from our palette. 

Raw Sienna is of a dull yellow color, very transparent 
and permanent. It is a natural pigment, containing iron, 
similar to th*e ochres, which we will now consider. 

There are several ochres, any one of which would make 
a valuable addition to the palette. Those best known are 
yellow ochre, Roman ochre, Oxford ochre and transparent 
gold ochre. Yellow and Oxford ochres are of a moderately 
light, dull yellow color, and rather opaque. Roman and 
transparent gold ochres are darker and more transparent. 

Yellow ochre is the most commonly used of the ochres, 
and a very valuable pigment. Like all the ochres it is 
permanent, except that it has, possibly, a tendency to turn 
darker in time. Transparent gold ochre has the advantage 



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74 PAINTING IN OIL. 



of being stronger in tone and more transparent, and might, 
perhaps, be the most generally useful, but it would be well 
to add both yellow and transparent gold ochres to our palette, 
although both are hardly necessary. As yellow ochre is a 
standard pigment, which is so exceedingly useful, and is 
also one which can invariably be procured, it will be best, 
perhaps, to select it as the one most desirable. 

We will now endeavor to find a green which can be 
added to our palette. Numerous greens can be formed 
from the mixture of yellows and blues, and most of the 
greens used must be so compounded, yet there is one 
green so beautiful and so durable that we cannot afford to 
do without it. This is viridian. 

Viridian is a comparatively new preparation, formed from 
oxide of chromium with a little water. It is also known 
under the names of Paul Veronese and permanent green. 
It is a rich, deep green, transparent, brilliant, and very per- 
manent, and will be found very useful in mixing tints. 
Aside from viridian, there are in the list of greens scarcely 
any which it will be worth our while to consider. The 
other oxides of chromium of various tones are stable, but 
not equal in beauty to the one we have chosen. 

The various copper greens, such as malachite, emerald. 



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COLORS — contintied. 75 



vertigris, and others made from copper alone, and in com- 
bination with arsenic, have a tendency to darken in time. 
They are also very poisonous, and in the case of emerald 
green the color itself is objectionable, as it is so crude and 
rank as to be injurious to the artistic effect. 

There are also various compounds of Prussian blue with 
yellow, which cannot be considered permanent, inasmuch 
as the blue pigment is fugitive, and the combination, even 
if the yellow is permanent, cannot be stronger than the 
weakest element in the mixture. The pigments commonly 
called chrome greens are compounds of chromate of lead 
and Prussian blue. The greens known as Brunswick green, 
English green and green cinnabar are also similar com- 
pounds, which may vary in degree of permanence according 
to the method of manufacture, yet none of these pigments 
can be considered as permanent on account of the elements 
which enter into their combinations. Hooker's green and 
Prussian green are compounds of Prussian blue and gam- 
boge, which are liable to the same objection of want of 
durability. Sap green or vert de vessie is a vegetable pig- 
ment which is not durable. Terre verte is a dull, greyish 
green which, although it may be considered permanent, is 
unnecessary. 



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76 PAINTING IN OIL. 



When we enter upon the search for the blue pigments, 
which are most useful, both atone and for the composition 
of greens, we find the number very limited. Indeed, when 
the question of durability is considered we find that there 
are but one or two which are worthy of being added to our 
palette. The one perfectly unexceptionable pigment among 
the blues is genuine ultramarine. 

Genuine Ultramarine is made from Lapis Lazuli, and is, 
necessarily, an extremely expensive pigment, as well as a 
perfectly durable orte. Its great cost places it outside of 
general use. A method of manufacturing an artificial 
ultramarine which possesses, in a considerable degree, the 
qualities of the genuine, was discovered by M. Guimet in 
1828, and shortly afterward by M. Gmelin. These ultrama- 
rines are similar in their chemical constitution to the natural 
pigment, being compounds of silica, alumina, sulphur and 
soda, and are known under various names, such as facti- 
tious or artificial ultramarine, outrenm' de Guimet, Gmelin's 
blue, bleu de garance, brilliant ultramarine, new blue and per- 
manent blue. Artificial ultramarines, when well made, are 
permanent. Those having the most color are considered 
the best. 

Brilliant Artificial Ultramarine is said to approach nearest 



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coiXiKS— continued. jj 



to the genuine ultramarine in color, transparency and chem- 
ical constitution. We, therefore, select it from among the 
artificial ultramarines for our palette. This is a splendid 
color, brilliant, deep and transparent, and will suffice as our 
only choice among blues. 

There are two other blues which are good and dura- 
ble, although not, perhaps, in so high a degree as the ul- 
tramarine, viz : cobalt and cerulian blue. The first of these 
is slightly effected by light and impure air, and the latter 
is said to assume a greenish tint in time. These are the 
only blues which have any claim to permanence. 

There are several other blue pigments which, as they are 
well known and commonly used, it may be well to mention 
in order to warn artists against them. These are smalt, 
indigo, intense blue, Antwerp or mineral blue and Prussian 
blue. These are all more or less fugitive. The last men- 
tioned, however, is so magnificent a color that it is hard to 
decide upon its banishment from the palette. There is no 
color that will fill its place. Its intense and brilliant hue, as 
well as its great transparency, render it most desirable, but 
even if under favorable circumstances, it may last well ; it 
is so sensitive to less favorable conditions, fading under the 
action of strong light, and darkening and changing color in 



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yS PAINTING IN OIL. 



impure air, that it is not a safe color to use. A permanent 
pigment possessing the power and transparency of Prus- 
sian blue would be a very valuable addition to the palette. 
Antwerp blue, a color which seems to be in common use, is 
still less permanent than Prussian blue. In default of other 
blues, however, a good ultramarine will answer all purposes, 
and will be sufficient for our palette. 

If a purple is desired, the best choice would be Purple 
Madder^ which has the qualities of the other madders, as 
well as the same degree of permanence. 

Purple lake, burnt carmine and burnt lake resemble the 
lakes, and are not, therefore, as durable as the madders. 
Violet carmine is not permanent ; Mars violet, an oxide of 
iron, is a permanent pigment, yet neither necessary nor de- 
sirable as an addition to our palette. Indeed so seldom 
would a purple be needed, or, if needed, so easily can it be 
made from rose madder and blue, that it is really unneces- 
sary to choose any pigment from this class. 

There are numerous brown pigments, nearly all of which 
are permanent. Among permanent browns may be men- 
tioned, brown madder, Rubens madder, Prussian brown, 
burnt umber, Verona brown, Vandyke brown and Caledo- 
nian brown. The browns which should be avoided on 



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COLORS — continued. 79 



account of lack of permanency are Cassel and Cologne 
earths, mummy brown and bone and ivory browns. 

One most tempting pigment in this class, which is in 
common use. requires a particular notice as a warning to 
artists. This is asphaltum, which, as a pigment, should 
be labeled ** dangerous.'' When in the form of a so- 
lution in turpentine, it is called asphaltum, and when 
mixed with drying oil, it goes by the name of bitumen or 
Antwerp brown. It is of a fine brown color, and possesses 
such perfect transparency as to render it very valuable in 
mixing tints, but it has a tendency to blacken, and, more- 
over, a liability to change and crack from the action of the 
atmosphere and from variations in temperature. Its quali- 
ties are such as to render it most unsafe, and in spite of its 
seductive tone and manner of working it is a very unde- 
sirable preparation. 

From the list of permanent browns we will choose for 
our palette Brown Madder, a rich and transparent brownish 
crimson or marrone, and Caledonian Brown, a transparent 
russet brown. These will, in all probability, be sufficient. 

Of browns with a citrine or olive cast, we have as per- 
manent pigments raw umber and Mars brown. Either of 
these may be considered durable; the former is a naturd 



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80 PAINTING IN OIL. 



ochre, with a possible tendency to darken in time, but 
having no injurious influence on any other pigment, the 
latter is either a natural or artificial ochre of strict perma- 
nence. We will select Raw Umber on account of its slightly 
more citrine cast. 

Gray, which can easily be made by a mixture of black 
and white, the tint being varied as desired by the addition 
of other colors, is unnecessary as a separate pigment. 
Gr^y has been distinguished from gr^ by defining it as 
a neutral tint, which is colored by the addition of some 
other pigment besides black and white. Gr^y is de- 
scribed as a tint formed by the union of black and white 
only. There are several gray pigments in general use. 
Of these may be mentioned mineral gray, ultramarine 
ash, neutral tint and Payne's gray. Ultramarine ash, as 
its name indicates, is obtained from Lapis Lazuli, after 
the blue has been extracted, and mineral gray is a product 
of the residuum after both the blue and the ash have been 
procured. Coming from such a source, these pigments may 
be considered permanent. The other two pigments men- 
tioned are also generally considered permanent, but the- 
first, neutral tint; is liable to become colder in tone, and 
Payne's gray, although useful in mixing tints, is a very 



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COLORS — contimced, 8 1 



unsatisfactory preparation. In my own experience I have 
found it a most dangerous pigment, as when used in com- 
bination with yellow or transparent gold ochre and white, it, 
in a very short time, disappeared almost entirely. These 
preparations are, however, as has been said before, quite 
unnecessary, as gray can be so easily compounded. 

Lastly, we will consider the black pigments, which, con- 
sidering the frequent use made of them, are quite impor- 
tant. In this class may be mentioned, ivory black, bone 
black, lamp black, cork black and blue black. Ivory black 
is made from charred ivory, and is, therefore, a sort of 
animal charcoal. This charcoal has the singular property 
of absorbing the color of any animal or vegetable solution. 
It can be imagined that its influence upon other organic 
pigments would be deleterious, although this quality would 
be shown more particularly in water color, for in the 
case of oil colors the oils and varnishes used act in some 
degree as a preventive. Bone black and lamp black are 
similar in their nature, and are somewhat undesirable in 
mixtures, as they are very dense and heavy. Cork black, 
which is obtained from charring cork, is a black of no great 
intensity. The last named in the list above, blue black, 
otherwise called charcoal, Leige or vine black, a charcoal 



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82 PAINTING IN OIL. 



prepared from vine twigs, is probably the best pigment 
to select for our palette. 

Blue Black is a black of a bluish cast, not so dense as 
lamp black or ivory black, and, therefore, more desirable 
for mixtures. Its slight bluish cast also renders it very 
valuable in the composition of grays. 

To recapitulate, we have, therefore, selected for our 
palette the following pigments: 

White— Zinc White. 

Red — Vermilion, Cadmium Red, Indian Red, Rose Mad- 
der. 

Orange — Burnt Sienna. 

Yellow — Aureolin, Deep Cadmium, Orient Yellow, Raw 
Sienna, Yellow Ochre. 

Green— Viridian. 

Blue^ — Genuine Ultramarine or Brilliant Artificial Ultra- 
marine. 

Purple — Purple Madder. 

Brown— Brown Madder, Caledonian Brown. 

Citrin? — Raw Umber. 

Black— Blue Black. 

To these eighteen pigments several other excellent colors, 
"uch as Transparent Gold ochre, Burnt Roman ochre, Mars 



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COLORS — continued. 83 

Brown, &c., might be added, but they are by no means 
necessary, and the list as given above will be found ample 
for all practical purposes. Indeed, in practice few artists 
would use so many colors. Some may consider this palette 
too limited, yet, having gone through the list of pigments 
from which we are obliged to choose, we can realize the 
difficulty of securing colors which are perfectly unexception- 
able in the matter of durability. It is to be hoped that 
the importance of this question has been made evident, 
also the fact that it is one which no artist can afford to 
ignore. We have, therefore, to choose for our palette such 
pigments as from their chemical constitution may be ex^ 
pected to resist the action of time under the ordinary con- 
ditions to which they shall be exposed, and which will not 
be inimical to each other in mixtures. These conditions 
have, we think, been fulfilled in the list given above, and it 
is offered as a palette of colors, which, if properly manufac- 
tured, can be used with perfect safety, and at the same time 
will afford all necessary variety. 



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CHAPTER VI. 

MATERIALS. 

"^ F all the materials of the paint- 
er's craft, the most important 
are, necessarily, the pigments. 
We have been considering the 
chemical composition of the colors, and 
it now remains, only, to select those 
which may reasonably be supposed to be 
free from adulteration. A great many 
complaints have been heard of late in regard to 
the durability of pigments. The unfortunate 
effects observed in many paintings of compara- 
tively recent date, which have given rise to 
these complaints, may in many cases, as we have before 
suggested, be due to the carelessness of the artists them- 
selves. When artists do not take the pains to inform them- 
selves as to the chemical character of the substances they 
(84) 




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MATERIALS. 85 



use, they have no right to blame the manufacturers when 
the natural results of improper combinations or the use of 
elements in themselves fugitive ensue. While' it may be 
true that there are pigments placed upon the market, poor 
in the quality of the chemicals of which they are composed, 
or imperfect from careless methods of manufacture, the 
results complained of can, in all probability, be more fre- 
quently charged to the vehicles with which they are mixed, 
or which are used with them in painting, than to the pig- 
ments themselves. 

In this age of adulterations the artist is, perhaps, pecul- 
iarly liable to suffer from this cause, and as he cannot take 
time, as did the old artists, to manufacture his colors him- 
self, he must trust to the honesty of the colormen. The 
only refuge he has, therefore, is in the selection of pigments 
made by manufacturers of such reputation as shall be a 
guarantee that their productions are as represented. 

I have submitted specimens of the pigments comprised 
in the list which has been given in the previous chapter, 
and manufactured respectively by Dr. Schoenfeld, Hardy- 
Alan and Winsor and Newton, to severe tests of exposure 
to the sun, air, and interior atmosphere for a long time, with 
very satisfactory results. From the issue of these experi- 



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86 PAINTING IN OIL. 



ments and use in ordinary practice, I can recommend the 
palette given as practically permanent, and the pigments as 
manufactured by the above mentioned dealers, as capable 
of standing all necessary tests. 

Of the three mentioned, my own preference is for the 
German colors, manufactured by Dr. Schoenfeld. These 
pigments, in perfection of manufacture, grinding and com- 
bination with their vehicles, purity of hue and permanence, 
leave little to be desired. There is, also, a detail which in 
use renders these colors more convenient than the English, 
which, while of no special importance, is yet the cause of a 
considerable saving of time and trouble. This is the use 
of a label on the tubes, colored to represent the tint of the 
pigments contained within. This practice, also, obtains 
with the French manufacturers, and is gratefully noticed by 
the painter when hurriedly searching for the color wanted 
from a full color box. 

The French colors of Hardy-Alan are also excellent, as 
are the well-known pigments of the English firm of Winsor 
and Newton. It is best that the pigments should be of one 
manufacture, although it may sometimes be desirable to use 
a certain pigment not to be found among the productions 
of the manufacturer you have chosen. I have not experi- 



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MATERIALS. 8/ 



merited with the American colors, and so am unable to 
speak from personal knowledge as to their durability, or the 
excellence of their manufacture. I have found, however, 
Devoes' zinc white an excellent preparation. It has a dry- 
ness of consistency which is very much valued by artists, 
especially in a white pigment. 

It is my purpose, in this chapter, to give a complete list 
of the materials necessary in oil painting, wkh the prices, 
so that the cost of an outfit may be easily computed. We 
will begin with the colors, giving the list of those already 
decided upon for the composition of our palette with the 
corresponding prices of English, American and German 
manufacture. Of the French, Hardy-Alan, colors, men- 
tioned above, I have been unable to obtain a complete list 
of prices, but can say that, as quoted in the lists of dealers, 
they represent, in most cases, double tubes, so that, 
although the prices may appear higher, they are really 
lower than the others when the quantity furnished is con- 
sidered. Genuine ultramarine is the most expensive color 
and is prepared by Messrs. Winsor and Newton for II3.25 
per tube. Fortunately artificial ultramarine can be substi- 
tuted for it. In the following list the prices of the several 
manufacturers can be compared : 



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88 



PAINTING IN OIL. 



COLORS. 


I! 


> 

s 

M 

5 

Z 


COLORS. 


X 

So 

•< • 


White 
Zinc White 


pr. tube 
lO 

i8 

il 

lo 

lO 

80 

10 

10 

28 

45 
45 

18 
10 

10 

10 


pr tube 

8 

15 
30 
25 

8 

60 
30 


Zincweiss . . 

Zinnobar 


pr.tube 
ID 


Reds 
Vermilion 


15 

^1 


Cadmium Red 


Cadmiumroth 


Rose Madder 


Krapplack No. 2, Rosa. . . 
Indischroth 


Indian Red 


10 


Orange 

Burnt Sienna 


Gebr. Sienna 


ID 


Yellows 

Aureolin 


Aureolin 


35 
35 


Deep Cadmium 

Orient Yellow 


Cadmium No. 4, dunkel 


Raw Sienna 


8 
8 

25 
25 
35 
15 

8 
8 


Terra di Sienna 

Lichter ockre 

Permanent Griin dunkel.. 

Dunkler Ultramarin 

Krapplack No. 8, dun- ^ 
kelster purpur / ' * 

Madderbraun 


10 


Yellow Ochre 


10 


Green 

Viridian 


10 


Blue 

Brilliant Ultramarine. . . 
Purple 

Purple Madder 

Browns 

Brown Madder 


15 

50 

25 
10 


Caledonian Brown 


(( (( 


Citrine 

Raw Umber 


Umbra 


10 


Black 
Blue Black 


Rebenschwarz 


10 









We can now compute the relative cost of the pigments 
of the different manufactures. I have been unable to find 
a permanent yellow corresponding to the English orient 
yellow in the lists of the other manufacturers ; neither have 
I been able to learn its chemical composition. It is rec- 



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MATERIALS. 89 



ommended, however, as a perfectly permanent color, and 
is a very brilliant and useful pigment which seems to bear 
the test of time and exposure. If we add to the other 
lists the English orient yellow, we will have on comparison 
of complete lists of the colors comprising the palette, prices 
as follows: 

English, 115,12. 

American, $4.04. 

German, $4.08. 
' The question of cost is one, however, which should not 
enter into this matter. It is not, usually, of moment, as 
the quantities are so small, and this is, certainly, the last 
place where economy should be practiced. The list as given 
includes nearly all the permcment pigments which can be 
procured. Some good colors have been omitted because 
they resembled very nearly, others chosen as the most de- 
sirable, and were, therefore, considered unnecessary. 

When the questions of hue, permanency and chemical 
action upon each other in mixtures, are considered, it will 
be found that this list practically comprises as varied a 
palette as is placed at the command of the artist of the 
present day. Additions are constantly being made to the 
lists of pigments, and there are many preparations known 



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go PAINTING IN OIL. 



to chemists as desirable, which, for some reason or other, 
have not yet been placed upon the market While the list 
as given above can hardly be considered extravagant in re- 
gard to variety, and while it is intended for general use, 
and includes nothing which may not at some time be nec- 
essary, it is possible that for a palette designed for ordinary 
use some of the pigments might be omitted. A list of 
palettes for different kinds of work will be given, which 
may serve as a guide to any one desiring to select pigments 
for any special purpose. 

The question of the number of pigments used, is one, 
however, which must be settled according to the idiosyncra- 
cies of the artist. Some artists make use of a large number 
of colors, while others prefer working with a very limited 
palette. In mixing several pigments together, the chemical 
combinations are necessarily complicated, and the risk of 
change from this source increased. Mixture, also, tends to 
deaden the brilliancy of the hues, yet I do not think it good 
practice for a painter to embarrass himself with too many 
colors. It is better for a beginner to learn the possibilities 
of a rather limited palette with whose combinations he can 
become familiar, than to involve himself in the complications 
of a more extensive one. It is possible by judicious com- 



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MATERIALS. ' 9 1 

binations of a few colors which are innocuous to each 
other, to obtain all necessary variety of tint, while at the 
same time the risk of getting the tones out of harmony 
with «ach other is lessened. 

Taking the list of colors as given, and choosing those of 
Dr. Schoenfeld's manufacture, we can make out a list of 
the articles required for a complete outfit as follows : 

Eighteen tubes of colors, including the English orient yellow, at 80 cts..$4 08 

Enameled tin box for colors i 25 

Palette 30 

Palette knife, of flexible steely for use in painting, of French manufac- 
ture, either Hardy-Alan or Colin i 00 

Mahl stick, (white wood) 15 

Turpentine 15 

Linseed oil. 15 

Bottle Soehn^e Freres' retouching varnish 25 

Easel 90 

Brushes I 00 

Tin cup 10 

Total $9 33 

The cost of these articles, as given above, represents the 
lowest estimate. In regard to several items, such as the 
easel, palette, mahl stick and box, the cost can very easily 
be increased, as the luxurious tastes of the artist demand, 



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92 PAINTING IN OIL. 



or his purse may permit. There are some additions to the 
cost of this outfit, however, which can hardly be avoided. 
The tubes of color must, of course, be constantly replaced 
as they are used, but there are some pigments of such gen- 
eral use that it would be well to order more than a single 
tube in the beginning. White is so much used that it is 
better to get it in double or quadruple tubes. Of yellow 
ochre there should be two or three tubes, and also more 
than one of burnt Sienna. The estimate for the brushes also, 
allows only five or six. This number should be increased 
according to the needs of the artist, which will vary very 
much according to his individual manner of working. 

The matter of brushes is a very important one. The 
best are those called the ** Munich brushes," manufactured 
by Weber, of Munich. They are made of hair, which, 
while firm and elastic, is very pliable, and are, in use, far 
preferable to the stiff hog*s bristle brushes. The prices 
range from twelve cents for the smaller sizes to twenty-five 
for the larger. The brushes chosen should be flat and as 
broad as the artist can conveniently use. The size will, of 
course, depend upon the scale of the painting, but the 
beginner should avoid the habit of working . with small 
brushes. 



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MATERIALS. 



93 



If out-door work is contemplated, there may be added to 
the outfit of the artist the very convenient folding easel, 
costing ii2.cx), and a camp stool at sixty-five cents. There 
is, also, a large umbrella to shield the sketcher, which can 
be procured for j^io.cx). 

Without allowing for any luxury in the material of the 
articles, with a dozen and a half of the best colors, and six 
or eight good brushes, we may say that an outfit for oil 
painting can be procured for about $10.00. 




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CHAPTER VII. 




ON CERTAIN CHANGES CAUSED BY THE 
MIXTURE OF PIGMENTS. 

^HE mixing of pigments is sometimes at- 
tended by changes which would not be 
expected from the known characteristics 
of the colors combined. These results 
are especially to be noted when white 
is mixed with certain other pigments. 
White enters into the combination of 
nearly every tint in oil painting, and it is 
ni^cessary to understand something of the 
peculiarities of its manner of combining 
mth other colors. It does not always act, 
simply, to lighten the tint, but frequently produces an 
actual change of hue. This is especially noticeable in the 
combination of black with white, from which we obtain a 
gray with a decided bluish tint. A very thin layer of white 

paint over a dark ground, will also present a similar appear- 
(94) 



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CHANGES CAUSED BY THE MIXTURE OF PIGMENTS. g$ 

ance, and the result comes, in both cases, from the peculiar 
effect of light transmitted through a semi-translucent me- 
dium. This effect is intensified when the semi-translucent 
medium is over a dark background. 

The production of a bluish tint in this way, is often 
seen in nature. The blue of the sky is said to be only 
the effect of light transmitted through the medium of the 
atmosphere lying between us and the darkness of space 
beyond. We find here the explanation of the intensely 
blue color of the sky as seen from high elevations where 
the atmosphere is clearer, and, also, of the ordinary phe- 
nomenon of the deep blue of the upper sky as com- 
pared to the pale, hazy effect at the horizon. The gor- 
geous yellow and orange tints of the sunset are due to 
the fact of the light being then transmitted through a 
thick intervening medium of atmospheric vapor. Similar 
effects may be noticed in some kinds of opalescent glass, 
which appear quite blue by reflected light, or in light com- 
ing through the more translucent portions, while that trans- 
mitted through the more opaque parts gives beautiful tints 
of red and orange. To the same peculiarity of light com- 
ing through a partially translucent medium, is due the 
bluish tints of distant mountains which diversify the land- 



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96 PAINTING IN OIL. 



scape SO beautifully, and vary with every passing state of the 
atmosphere. 

The artist may derive lessons from the study of the 
causes of these natural phenomena, which will help him in 
his attempts to represent them : For instance, in painting a 
sky, he should endeavor in his small degree to portray it, 
not as a blue canopy stretched above him, but as a partially 
transparent medium through which light passes. He must 
not sacrifice the light to the color, but must remember that 
it is light, accidentally appearing blue, but yet light in- 
tensely brilliant as compared to terrestrial objects. Deep as 
sometimes seems to be the color, it will be found far re- 
moved from a pure blue. If represented as really blue, it 
will be out of harmony with the landscape, as well as defi- 
cient in luminosity. 

There is after all no color in the use of which it is neces- 
sary to exercise so great care as blue. Anything approach- 
ing a pure or saturated blue will always be found out of har- 
mony in art. In many cases the blue which we have found 
to be the accidental result of the mixing of black and white 
will be found suflScient. In painting flesh artists generally 
use blue in the shadows, but by the use of blue black, which 
has a slightly bluish cast, tints may be formed quite blue 



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CHANGES CAUSED BY THE MIXTURE OF PIGMENTS. 97 

enough for any possible tones of flesh. Even in painting 
blue eyes, a blue pigment is unnecessary. The combination 
of blue black and white, perhaps, even then warmed with a 
little yellow, will furnish the proper hue. This use of black 
and white will also be an imitation of nature's method in the 
case, for it is said that the color of blue eyes does not result 
from the presence of blue coloring matter, but simply from 
the optical illusion, to which we have referred, due here to 
the effect produced by a semi-transparent membrane spread 
over a dark background. This effect observed in the mixing 
of white with black is also seen in the combination of white 
with other pigments in a lesser degree. With various reds, 
especially with those at all inclined to violet, it forms tints 
with a decided tendency to purplish hues. With Indian 
red the combination assumes so purple a hue that, although 
it is frequently used in painting flesh, I cannot think it de- 
sirable for the purpose. In mixtures of opaque yellows 
with black, similar results are seen, and tints with a decided 
greenish tendency are formed, the yellow not being simply 
darkened, as might be supposed, but assuming a hue as 
green as if blue had been introduced into the mixture. 
From these peculiarities in the mixing of pigments, it is 
quite possible to obtain tints as blue or green as will ever 



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pS PAINTING IN OIL. 



be needed in painting flesh without running the risk of 
forming tones too decidedly of this nature. By studying 
the peculiar qualities of pig^ments in combination the artist 
can limit his palette, and at the same time lessen the risk 
of producing inharmonious tints. 



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CHAPTER VIII. 




PALETTES. 

HE palettes given here are 
offered simply to guide 
the student in the selec- 
tion of colors for certain 
classes of subjects. When 
one considers the infinite 
combinations which can 
be made with a few pig- 
ments, it can easily be seen how impossible it is to give 
a scheme of color for painting any special subject, which 
shall be more than a suggestion. As mere suggestions, 
therefore, as to what colors might be used to produce cer- 
tain combinations of hues, these palettes are given : 



Zinc white, 
Aureolin, 
Burnt Sienna, 
Vermilion, 



FLESH TINTS. 

Yellow ochre. 
Brown madder, 
Cadmium red. 
Blue black. 



Rose madder. 
Deep cadmium, 
Raw umber, 

(99) 



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ICX) PAINTING IN OIL. 



A most useful and simple palette for flesh tints, will be 
found in the following colors: 

Zinc white, Yellow ochre, Burnt Sienna, 

Vermilion, Rose madder. Blue black. 

To which brown madder may be added for warm shadow 
tints in the lips, &c. Vermilion is a peculiarly heavy and 
opaque pigment, and is, in consequence, somewhat difficult 
to manage, yet it is the best available red for the purpose. 
Some artists like to use cadmium yellow in the shadows of 
flesh, and a bright yellow of that kind might be used, if 
desired, instead of yellow ochre. Aureolin, from its more 
transparent quality, would furnish fine flesh tints, and with 
rose madder and white would give very delicate and durable 
hues. Cadmium red is also useful for this purpose. Each 
artist must discover for himself the scheme of color which 
he can handle best, but he will, I think, among the colors 
mentioned above, find all that will be necessary. If desired, 
raw umber could be used in making shadow tints instead 
of black. 

LANDSCAPE. 

Zinc white, Ultramarine, Orient yellow, Viridian, 
Raw Sienna, Raw umber. Burnt Sienna, Blue black, 
Deep cadmium, Yellow ochre. 



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PALETTES. lOI 



Aureolin may be used in greens made from white, ultra- 
marine and yellow ; or white, viridian and yellow ; instead of 
orient yellow or cadmium. It may not be necessary to 
have all the yellows mentioned, but they are all excellent 
colors and will be found useful. A dark green for foliage 
may be made with viridian and burnt Sienna, which may be 
lightened with yellow ochre. A very brilliant green may 
be composed of viridian, orient yellow and white, and one 
inclining more to russet tones may be made from viridian, 
cadmium yellow and white. Good greens may also be 
made with viridian and raw Sienna. Blue greens may be 
composed of viridian and white, or viridian white and 
ultramarine. Gray greens may be made by the addition 
of black to any of the greens already given, or with virid- 
ian, burnt Sienna and white. 

MARINE PALETTE. 

Zinc white. Ultramarine, Yellow ochre, 

Viridian, Aureolin, Brown madder. 

Burnt Sienna, Blue black. 

The tints of water are, of course, infinitely varied accord- 
ing to the state of the atmosphere, the light, &c.; yet the 
palette given above will probably furnish as great a variety 



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I02 PAINTING IN OIL. 



as would be necessary, unless boats and figures requiring 
special hues are introduced, or that representations of sunset 
effects should be attempted when it would be necessary to 
add some of the reds. The deep blue of distant water seen 
on a clear day may be represented with ultramarine, virid- 
ian and burnt Sienna with a little white. For the middle 
distance the same colors can be used, allowing the green to 
predominate. The red tint of the sea which sometimes 
comes from the presence of sea weed can be given by the 
use of brown madder. For the waves of the sea near 
the shore the- greens are quite pronounced and sometimes 
very brilliant. Aureolin might come in play here. Brown 
madder will also be necessary in some shadows and re- 
flections. The sand of the shore may be painted with • 
white, yellow ochre, burnt Sienna and a little blue black. 
The shadows with the same in the blue gray tint, made 
by the blue black and white with less of the Sienna as 
the shadows in the sand are very blue. The tints are, 
however, so varied by every change of time and atmos- 
pheric conditions that it is impossible to give more than 
a suggestion for certain more commonly observed effects. 



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PALETTES. 



103 



Zinc white, 
Aureolin, 
Rose madder, 
Raw Sienna, 
Viridian, 
Brown madder. 



FRUIT AND FLOWERS. 

Blue black, Vermilion, 

Cadmium red, Deep cadmium, 

Orient yellow, Indian red, 

Burnt Sienna, Yellow ochre, 

Brilliant ultramarine. Purple madder, 

Caledonian brown, Raw umber, 



For ^1 the varied hues to be met with among flowers it 
is necessary to have an extensive palette. I have, there- 
fore, included all the pigments selected for the palette for 
general use in the one given above. In the case of fruit 
some warm and brilliant colors will be required, and if ar- 
ranged with its accompanying leaves, the various greens 
.of foliage will be required. It would be manifestly im- 
possible to give the composition of tints for the various 
objects which might be represented under this head. The 
individual specimens of the same kind also vary so much in 
color that tints composed for one would not answer for 
another. Yet we may mention certain combinations which 
could be used for some of the members of this class most 
commonly represented, which may be useful as suggestions 
of possible combinations. 

The color of red grapes may be made with Indian red, yel- 



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I04 PAINTING IN OIL. 



low ochre and white with a little black. The bloom on the 
surface with Indian red^ black and white. Black grapes 
may be painted with black, white and a little burnt Sienna. 
Apples will require various tints of red, yellow and green, 
such as vermilion, orient yellow and burnt Sienna with 
white. And white, orient yellow and a little ultramarine 
for the greenish side, or for a deep red, brown madder, 
vermilion, or vermilion and burnt Sienna. Oranges may be 
painted with cadmium yellow and white with cadmium red 
and black in the shadows, and lemons with orient yellow 
and white, with, perhaps, a touch of cadmium red in the 
shadows. Peaches will require cadmium yellow and white, 
with a little vermilion, while in the deepest shadows yellow 
ochre may be substituted for cadmium and madder brown 
for vermilion. For the bloom, a warm grey made from 
the yellow, red, white and black used in making the other 
tints. 

In painting flowers, where such varied tints are required, 
it seems especially useless to attempt to make suggestions 
as to the selection of colors for any particular combinations, 
but a few hints as to certain general types may, however, be 
of use. For scarlet flowers, the painter must be contented 
with the tints formed from vermilion, or rose madder with 



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PALETTES. 105 

yellow, as bright scarlet and scarlet lake have been ban- 
ished from our palette. The tints furnished by vermilion, 
glazed with rose madder or by deep cadmium, and rose 
madder will, however, be suflficiently bright. Brown mad- 
der or burnt Sienna with black may be used with the red 
in the shadows. For pink flowers rose madder and white 
can be used with vermilion and aureolin, or cadmium where 
the tints incline to cherry or yellowish tones. Orange 
flowers may be painted with cadmium red, cadmium red 
and burnt Sienna, touched with brown madder in the deep- 
est parts. Yellow flowers with orient yellow and white, 
shadows orient yellow, burnt Sienna and black. Deep red 
flowers, as the color of dark nasturtiums, Indian red, shad- 
ed with Indian red and burnt Sienna. Flowers which are 
really blue are very rare. The little Plumbago coerulia is 
one of the very few which may be said to be really of this 
color. The tints of most flowers, nominally of this hue, 
would require an admixture of yellow with the blue used 
in making the tint, while many incline to purple. Purple 
flowers may be represented by various tints made from 
rose madder with ultramarine and white, or purple madder 
with brown madder or blue black in the shadows. 

We will close these suggestions, however, well convinced 



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io6 



PAINTING IN OIL. 



of the futility of trying to impart any information upon the 
subject, except that of the most general character. The 
question is not one which can be reduced to a mathematical 
calculation, and where combinations can be varied to the 
extent which is possible in the mixing of pigments^^ and 
the result is in so great a degree dependent upon the indi- 
vidual taste and feeling of the painter, it is impossible to 
give special directions. 




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APPENDIX. 



PIGMENTS TO BE AVOIDED. 



Silver white, 
Flake white, 
Cremnitz white. 
Lemon cadmium, 
Citron yellow, 
Mutrie yellow, 
Indian yellow, 
Italian pink. 
Quercitron lake, 
Orpiment, 
Carmine, 
Crimson lake. 
Scarlet lake. 
Purple lake, 
Florentine lake, 
Chinese lake, 
Roman lake, 
Venetian lake, 
Dragon's blood, 
Indian lake, 
Pure scarlet, 
Red chrome, 



Smalt, 

Red lead. 

Antimony red, 

Cyanine blue, (semi-stable). 

Indigo, 

Intense blue, 

(more durable than indigo), 
Antwerp blue, 
Chinese orange, 
Chrome orange, 
Antimony orange, 
Malachite green, 
Vertigris, 
Bronze, 

Hooker's green, 
Prussian green, 
Sap green, 

or vert de vessie. 
Burnt lake, 
Indian purple, 
Violet Carmine, 

Olive green. 

(107) 



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I08 APPENDIX. 



VARIOUS NAMES UNDER WHICH CERTAIN PIGMENTS ARE KNOWN. 

Viridian is also called Paul Veronese green and Permanent 
green. 

Ultramarine — Outremer, Lazuline, Lazuline blue, Lazu- 
lite, Lazurstein, Azure. 

Artificial ultramarine — Brilliant ultramarine, Metz, 
Gmelin's blue, or factitious ultramarine, bleu de Garance, 
Outremer de Guimet, French ultramarine, New blue and Per- 
manent blue. 

Vermilion — Cinnabar. 

Cadmium— ^^«;^^ brilliante. 

Blue black — Liege black, Vine black. 

Purple madder — Purple rubiate, F^'eld's purple, Field's 
russet. 



VARNISHING. 



After an oil painting becomes dry it is necessary that 
some preparation in the nature of varnish should be ap- 
plied to bring out the colors and give them their proper 
effect. The question of varnish is one, however, that it is 



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APPENDIX. 109 



very difficult to solve in a satisfactory manner, and a matter 
which has led to the ruin of many paintings. 

A heavy coating of varnish is neither desirable for the 
artistic effect nor for the preservation of the picture. What- 
ever varnish is applied, therefore, must be laid on with care, 
and not too thickly. The painting must, however, be aU 
lowed to become thoroughly dry before it is permanently 
varnished, otherwise the varnish will crack. The time that 
should elapse before a picture may be considered in condi- 
tion for the application of varnish is variously estimated, 
and it is considered that even six months is not a longer 
time than is necessary to render the process free from 
danger. 

In the meantime something must be used to serve the 
purposes of 4 varnish. For this nothing is better than 
Soehnee Freres' retouching varnish. This preparation is 
said to be free from objectionable qualities, can be used at 
once, and will last for a year or so. After a sufficient time 
has elapsed to ensure the complete drying of the picture a 
good permanent varnish can be used or the retouching varnish 
can be re-applied. 



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INDEX. 



PAGF 



Black pigments 81-82 

Blue '* 76 78 

Bluish tint of shadows 55 

Browns^ 78-80 

Burnt Sienna 70 

Cadmium red 68 

Clerk Maxwell's disks 37 

Color, how to secure brilliancy of 14 

** as an auxiliary to light 48 

» ** sense of savages 25 

Complementary colors 42 

Development of the color sense, theory of Dr. Magnus 23 

Effect of Yellow 54 

Flesh tints 99 100 

Fruit and Flowers 103 

Gray 80 

Greens 74-75 

Indian red C) 

(110) 



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INDEX. Ill 



PAGE 



Lead whites 64-65 

List of colors with prices SS 

** of materials ' 91 

Light, latest theory of. 30 

Loss of color in strong light 55 

Loss of luminosity in mixing pigments 36 

Madder lakes 69 

Marine palette loi 

Palette for Landscape 100 

Primary colors, former theory of. 32 

'* *' Hering's theory of 33 

** ** as given by Clerk Maxwell..:... 33 

Purple madder 78 

Varnishing 108 

Vermilion 67 

Vision, new theoryof. 34 

Yellows 71-74 

Zinc white 65 



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